McLaren allowed to change chassis for new engine

McLaren will be allowed to modify the MCL35 chassis

McLaren Racing has been granted dispensation by the FIA to modify its 2020 Formula 1 car ahead of an engine supplier change next year.

The British squad will switch from Renault power to Mercedes at the culmination of the current season.

All Formula 1 power units use the same mounting points, differences between the Renault and Mercedes architecture will force McLaren to make changes to the chassis to accommodate it.

‘”We will be allowed to make the necessary changes to our car to accommodate this,” Andreas Seidl, McLaren’s Team Principal, confirmed.

The modifications to the MCL35’s chassis would have been against revised regulations which dictate cars must be carried over from 2020 into next season.

Seidl added that both he and McLaren remain firm supporters of the new regulations despite their delay.

Amid the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 Formula 1 season, and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic may have on teams to develop for 2021, the decision was made to push back the planned regulation change.

That will see teams race their current cars again in 2021 before the significant technical regulations are introduced for 2022.

“From the outset, we have been a leading supporter of the new sporting and technical regulations for 2021,” he said.

“They present the opportunity to deliver an exciting new era for Formula 1.

“Nevertheless, there is no escaping the severity of the pressures faced by the sport right now.

“In the same way that decision to introduce the new regulations was aimed at improving the long-term health of Formula 1, the decision to postpone them has been made in the same vein.

“We support the postponement and have played an active part in the conversation around doing so.

“We recognise that it is crucial to protect the financial health of all the teams while ensuring a level playing field when we do go racing.”

Formula 1 has brought forward its traditional summer shutdown to run across March and April with the hope of opening up opportunities to reschedule races later in the year.

Seidl confirmed McLaren will shut down from March 25 to April 14.

“In addition to reducing financial pressure, a synchronised shutdown among all teams is not only a logical way to safeguard the wellbeing of our people and prevent the spread of COVID-19, but it also provides the opportunity to reschedule postponed races from August and beyond and give fans a spectacular summer of racing,” he reasoned.

The German also confirmed staff members who were put into quarantine in Melbourne following over the Australian Grand Prix weekend are set to return home this week.

“They’re doing well, I stayed out with them for a couple of extra days and some senior members of the team are still there with them,” he said.

“All the team members who had been tested as a precaution tested negative, which is fantastic news.

“The person that had tested positive is now feeling well and we look forward to welcoming everyone back to the UK this week.”