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Formula 1

Sainz gets new monocoque to tackle cooling mystery

by Glenn Freeman
4 min read

McLaren has made a raft of changes to Carlos Sainz Jr’s Formula 1 car for the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, including a change of monocoque, to attempt to solve the cooling problems he had at Silverstone last weekend.

Sainz’s car was running too hot last weekend, which led to the cooling at the rear of the car being changed to a more conservative configuration to contain the problem.

Although McLaren wouldn’t give a definitive explanation for the problem, team principal Andreas Seidl explained the wide-ranging changes in the car build that it is hoped will eliminate it, with today’s practice for the Spanish Grand Prix the key test.

“We did different changes to the build of the car simply to try to understand or exclude the temperature difference that we had in Silverstone,” said Seidl when asked by The Race about McLaren’s response to the problems.

“So we changed several components, including the monocoque because the radiator ducts are connected to it. We need to see in free practice if we got to the bottom of the issue we had.

“It’s also important to understand that in terms of pure performance it doesn’t really make a big difference.

“With the car in Silverstone running two or three degrees hotter than the other car, it triggered exactly the threshold where we had to open up the bodywork on Carlos’s car, which then was a downside on drag, on top speed and then also a deficit in lap time and we need to make sure that we get to the bottom of it.”

The change of monocoque was scheduled for the next race of the season at Spa as part of the team’s normal rotation, but Seidl explained it was brought forward as part of the troubleshooting process.

Despite the changes, there will be no updates in the specification of the car in terms of performance upgrades, with Seidl admitting he expects another difficult weekend.

“What we normally have is a rotation of monocoques during the year as a standard to simply distribute the mileage and small little repairs and it was planned to do anyway for next weekend in Spa, but with the temperature differences we had at Silverstone we pulled this change forward by one race,” said Seidl.

“The radiator inlets, the sidepod inlet, is part of the monocoque which could be one reason of many for the temperature difference. In the end we tried to exclude as many items as possible in order to get to the bottom of it.”

Andreas Seidl McLaren F1 2020

Sainz qualified 0.198s slower for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix than team-mate Lando Norris, who did not suffer the same cooling problems.

He then finished 13th in the race after losing 7-8 seconds at his first pitstop thanks to a sensor problem with the front-left wheelgun that meant he was not given the green light despite the wheel being properly attached.
He is hopeful that the problem has been resolved, but admits it remains a question mark.

“We’re putting everything in place this weekend to try to solve the issue,” said Sainz when asked by The Race about the changes.

“I was obviously not happy about last weekend having to carry a deficit into qualifying and the race, which made my life a bit more difficult. But at the same time I’m confident that the team is trying to put everything they can together to try to solve this issue.

“We are not sure if I am going to have it or not. We are sure that we’ve been trying to solve it as much as we can, but it will be continuous work to see if the problem has disappeared.

“Let’s see. It’s a bit of a question mark and I don’t know the answer yet because we need to switch the engine on, go on track and see if the problem is solved.

“But I’m hopeful after changing so much stuff that this is going to go away and I can have a normal weekend.”

Seidl said Sainz has had more than his fair share of misfortune in the early races, contributing to him having only 15 points compared to team-mate Norris’s 38.

He hopes that the changes will allow Sainz’s luck to turn from Barcelona onwards.

“If you look back at the first five races, especially on Carlos’s side ,there was a lot of things happening be they on the pitstop side, this temperature topic or the tyre blowup in Silverstone, which were out of his control and caused him to lose a lot of points to Lando despite Carlos putting in some great performances,” Seidl said.

“It’s our task to do better here and hopefully we can start doing that from his home race onwards.”

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