Ringo, you can easily crank up the rear wing to give 10 extra counts of downforce. This will have very little if any effect on other systems, and will only effect front downforce by the lever arm of pushing down behind the rear axle. You'll also gain significant drag.
If you crank up the front wing to gain 10 counts, you have effected cooling flow as well as much of the flow to the rear downforce producing elements. So you've lost rear downforce through the lever arm, but also directly by the change in flow. You've gain very little drag, though, because you haven't changed the frontal area at all.
Increasing the rake of the chassis makes the entire floor act as a diffuser, and since it increases the angle of attack of the diffuser itself makes that part work harder. That is, until that part begins to stall. The diffuser will do more work than the floor, but the floor is doing work by itself.
I keep seeing tons of comments about the exhaust energy available, mostly based on the fact that at the combustion event we know engineers are throwing roughly 1/3 of the energy out the exhaust valve.
Try this. Take a handgun, loaded with blanks, place it within 6" of your head and pull the trigger. An actor did exactly that a few years ago. He didn't survive. That is energy that is still capable of doing real work.
Now place a thermal barrier over your hand, and cover the exhaust outlet with that hand. If you still had anything remotely close to 600 kw you'd do some serious damage to your hand. There is obviously still energy there, but nothing remotely close to some of the estimates around this forum.
You keep insisting on claiming McClaren "gained" performance. There really is a difference between gaining and no longer losing. Okay, let's call the RB solution 100% effective. Now, let's assume the original Mc solution was actually worth 110%. That's right, it worked better, at least in the lab. Hard as this might be for the Newey worshipers to believe, this is actually very likely to be the case. The McClaren people are not stupid, there has to have been a good reason for them to persue that solution.
Now, let's assume on track their solution is STILL worth 110%, but every so often it's only worth 90%. Could be any number of causes, perhaps it's more pitch sensitive. If you have a part that is faster much of the time but occasionally slower, you actually have a part that is slower in reality. The problem is with the inconsistancy. The driver WILL drive that part to 90% everywhere. He'll do this because he does not want to die. There have been very few drivers in history willing to ignore that rule, and they have tended to have short careers, and often short lives.
I am claiming that whatever was wrong with the McClaren was an inconsistant performance. It seems likely that this involved the exhaust and floor, possibly in their working relationship with each other. This does NOT mean that the problem was costing them a full second. It only means that the drivers were driving a second slower in order to avoid the problem.
You can drive around some pretty serious problems, as long as the problem acts the same way every time. You really can't drive around a problem that shows up for no aparent reason and with no warning.
Whenever you see a car gain massive performance overnight, especially at a level like F1, it's almost always a matter of fixing a problem. Something was destroying driver confidence, and now it's gone. Even if the fix is slower than the original, as long as it's predictable and not too much slower, the car will be faster, often much faster.
You ask what problem, and I don't know. It almost doesn't matter, except for the guys who have to fix it. It could be a sudden transition between understeer and oversteer. It could be any number of things, but in this particular case it seems likely that the team thought the problem was coming from the front aero.
You are talking about a different era.
It has no relation to the modern F1 car and team, and the technology the teams have today.
I dislike this whole argument. It assumes that way back then humans were just too primitive to understand our modern ways. It's like french aristocrats complaining about stupid supersticious farmers thinking their hot air baloons were demons. I'm pretty sure those stupid farmers could see the aristocrats and were just pretending to think they were demons so they could get away with taking a few shots.
We're talking about a couple of years. The only technology that could be said to have massively improved is computers. This does allow many more cfd solutions to be tried, but that only really gets you closer to 100% the first time out. The wind tunnels are nearly identical, manufacturing techniques haven't changed in any radical way, where is this amazing new technology?
McClaren abandoned the blown diffuser at Silverstone. Why? Because a slow car is better than an inconsistant car. If a diffuser is very close to the stall condition during everyday life, it can get your car into a cycle that is extremely nasty. When the diffuser works it forces the car into a condition that stalls the diffuser, which in turn allows the car to return to a condition where the diffuser starts working again. I'm not kidding, you could watch Newey's early designs bounce down the track.
It doesn't matter if the part adds performance unless it can do so every time. If it's unpredictable it will shatter driver confidence.
Blowing the diffuser has obvious negative side effects. If this were not so they would never have abandoned the concept. It was never outlawed. It was considered, universally I might add, to be no longer worth it. That also tells you there was never anything close to a full second to be gained.
Rumor and logic tell us that teams have made serious efforts to limit the negative side effects. We can assume the idea is both more effective and more consistent than before. But it's unlikely that it is massively more effective. The technology has NOT in fact improved THAT much. Yes, obviously it allows the diffuser to work harder than it could by itself, otherwise there'd be no reason to do it. How much more is debatable, and I feel very confident predicting that it will be abandoned again, for exactly the same reasons it was the first time.