McLaren's higher-downforce rear wing The more conventional rear wing angle used by Mercedes GP

Spot the difference: McLaren’s higher-downforce rear wing turned heads at Monza (left); the conventional rear wing angle used by team such as Mercedes GP (right).

McLaren’s strong start in practice for the Italian Grand Prix is not exactly unexpected, but what has turned heads is the set-up they have adopted for the low-downforce circuit, with the Woking outfit opting to use a rear wing configuration more suited to a high-downforce circuit.

With the need to eke out as much straight-line speed as possible to cope with Monza’s high-speed nature, most teams opt to run a low-drag rear wing. However, many observers were surprised with McLaren’s decision to run much more rear wing than its rivals.

The British team’s decision to use the ‘F-duct’ in conjunction with the more sharply-angled rear wing might actually make sense.

The logic behind this is that the driver would achieve a high top speed by activating the ‘F-duct’ on the straight to stall the rear wing, and in turn the cars would have more grip through the corners with the additional downforce generated by the rear wing.

Jenson Button’s McLaren topped the timesheets in the opening practice session as the silver cars posted a 1-3 in the first session, and then proceeded to lap three-quarters of a second faster than any other driver during high-fuel running in the second practice session.

[Original images via AUTOSPORT]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.