Not to be outdone by the Ferrari F60, McLaren revealed its new Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-24 Formula 1 car. The MP4-24 will start its publicly testing at the Autodromo do Algarve circuit in Portugal today.
2009 is the first year the kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) gets implemented in F1 racing. The MP4-24’s KERS device has been developed in collaboration with McLaren and Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines. The KERS device’s output puts out 60kW/400kJ, which equals an additional 80bhp for 6.66s per lap. This is the kind of gas/electric hybrid we can get behind.
Press release after the jump.
The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team today launched the car it will campaign in the 2009 FIA Formula 1 World Championship at its headquarters in Woking, England.
Unveiled by world champion Lewis Hamilton and his team-mate Heikki Kovalainen, the new MP4-24 bears little resemblance to its world championship-winning predecessor due to the introduction of a raft of new rules that have radically reshaped Formula 1 ahead of the 2009 season.
Now featuring heavily revised bodywork, re-sculpted front and rear wings, slick tyres and a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS), the MP4-24 has been in development since September 2007 in order to successfully accommodate the huge changes to the technical regulations.
The team has already completed two MP4-24 chassis and begins publicly testing at the Autodromo do Algarve circuit in Portugal on Monday. Test driver Pedro de la Rosa will conduct the first two days before Lewis (Wednesday) and Heikki (Thursday) each spend a day behind the wheel.
With an unprecedented series of rule changes introduced ahead of the 2009 season, the new Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-24 represents a significant departure from its world championship-winning predecessor.
Incorporating new bodywork regulations and the much-heralded return of slick tyres, the team’s new challenger not only looks radical but also incorporates a host of new innovative features under the skin, such as a sophisticated kinetic energy recovery system (KERS).
Introducing the MP4-24
While still retaining the distinctive family look established with both the MP4-22 and MP4-23, this year’s car is visually very different from its predecessors as a result of two main factors:
This year’s aerodynamic regulations were framed by the FIA and the Overtaking Working Group (helmed by Vodafone McLaren Mercedes engineering director Paddy Lowe, Ferrari’s Rory Byrne and Renault’s Pat Symonds) which met throughout 2007 in order to address the issues affecting passing in Formula 1.
The OWG’s influence can be most clearly seen around the front wing, which has been widened to increase front-end load when following another car, and the rear wing – which is now more compact to offer less interference to chasing vehicles. Other factors affecting aerodynamics include the banning of ancillary appendages, the addition of driver-adjustable front-wing flaps and a heavily revised diffuser.
The MP4-24’s KERS device has been developed in collaboration with McLaren and Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines, which has been developing and refining the system for almost two years. With a fully optimised KERS device’s output capped at 60kW/400kJ (discharging an additional 80bhp for 6.66s per lap), the development team’s primary focus has already shifted to further improving the unit’s integration within the chassis in order to minimise performance loss elsewhere within the package.
An optimised KERS package can be expected to deliver a 0.4-0.6s gain per lap.