McLaren will build its own wind tunnel to help development of its Formula 1 car, following a request from team principal Andreas Seidl.
Seidl started work at McLaren at the start of May and was asked to identify weaknesses in terms of the team’s set-up in order to direct future investment. The new team principal told McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown that the use of the Toyota wind tunnel in Cologne is not ideal, and although there is a facility at the McLaren Technology Centre that is currently not used by the F1 team, a new wind tunnel at the team’s headquarters would be beneficial.
“One of the biggest tasks I get at the moment from Zak and the shareholders – Sheikh Mohammed and Mansour (Ojjeh) – is to clearly point out where I see the deficits or weaknesses in infrastructure, structure and so on, at Woking and here at the track,” Seidl said.
“One of the big deficits we have at the moment is clearly not running our own wind tunnel in Woking. For nearly 10 years, we’ve been developing our car remotely at Toyota in Cologne.
“So I’m very happy that recently this decision has been made that we install a new wind tunnel and get a new wind tunnel in Woking, which is obviously a great message for everyone inside the team because it also shows how serious Zak and the shareholders are regarding our way back to the front.
“It’s great news for everyone inside the team, a big boost for the morale, and simply fits the overall positive direction that everyone is taking at the moment inside the team.”
Giving a rough timeframe of two years for the wind tunnel to be completed, Seidl says it is not just the Formula 1 team that will benefit from the development.
“I think it’s important to mention that the investment we’re doing in the wind tunnel was not just for our Formula 1 program,” he said. “I think we can share the resources of the wind tunnel with automotive.
“We can share with potential other future motorsport projects at McLaren. Zak is working on that. At the same time, I think it’s also possible to rent it out to customers. That is the idea and why we took the decision to make this investment.”
McLaren – currently fourth in the constructors’ championship, but without a podium in over five years – will continue to use the Toyota facility until its own wind tunnel is complete.