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F1 Pictorial Comparison: McLaren MP4-28 vs McLaren MP4-29 - the bizarre intricacies of dolphin noses, crazy curves and jagged lines

Published: 6 February 2014

After McLaren confirmed the departure of Paddy Lowe to Mercedes F1, Tim Goss was appointed Director of Engineering for the Woking-based Formula One team. 

In the past, he was Chief Engineer for the McLaren MP4-21, which proved to be a massive failure. He led the engineering design team for the 2006 season where the Adrian Newey-designed car failed to win a race all season. It achieved only three pole positions, three fastest laps and nine podiums all those years ago.

Formula One has changed a lot since then and no longer do the big teams of the past dominate. Red Bull came along and made history – four years in a row. But now that the champions are struggling in testing, could the new regulations prove to be too challenging for Newey. 

Could Tim Gross’s unusual but radical new design for the McLaren MP4-29 prove to be a turning point for McLaren in their final season powered by a Mercedes engine?

The majority of F1 fans would agree that it looks ugly, unlike the 2014 cars made by Ferrari and Mercedes. But in testing, it’s been quick. On the third day of testing in Jerez, F1 rookie and up-and-coming F1 superstar Kevin Magnussen set the fastest time of the day. 

But the times set in testing are anything but an accurate indicator of speed. It’s about gathering data which will enable the teams to get a flying start to the new season. And all the Mercedes-powered teams, including McLaren, look like they are in a position to get ahead of Red Bull – at least in the first half of the season anyway. 

And in comparison to last year’s miserable car, which at best achieved fourth in the last race in Brazil and a fastest lap time in by Sergio Perez in Malaysia, this year’s dolphin-like nose could see McLaren leap to new heights. Could McLaren have once again found the winning formula? 

All pictures are courtesy of McLaren-Mercedes.




Since McLaren's 2014 car, the MP4-29, was launched (above showing Pirelli P Zero branded tyres), a small cooling outlet at the leading edge of the sidepod, just aside of the sidepod panel, has been introduced. It''s black, shaped like a wing and open at the back and top. Below are some pictures taken during testing in Jerez showing what we''re talking about. 



LEFT: MP4-29 (2014). RIGHT: MP4-28 (2013).

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