McLaren gets permission to change its chassis

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The McLaren F1 team will be allowed to make the necessary changes to its chassis despite the sport’s decision to freeze the development of several parts of the actual race cars for 2021.

With the rapidly-spreading COVID-19 coronavirus, the sport has been confronted with a huge pressure to deal with. Apart from the postponements of grands prix, the 2020 brand-new cars are yet to hit the track at a race weekend after the Australian Grand Prix was called off just hours ahead of the start of the first free practice session. As it is still unsure when or if racing can kick off in 2020, the FIA, Formula 1 and teams decided in a video conference last Thursday to postpone the introduction of the major technical overhaul until 2022 and stick to the current race cars for the forthcoming year.

The latter decision means that teams will not be allowed to make any modification to the chassis of their 2020 cars while discussions are still ongoing about the possibility of freezing the development of other parts as well in a bid to save costs in these financially troubled times. It is expected that work on mechanical parts such as suspension can also be prohibited with the aerodynamics being the only area where research can be conducted.

The decision of freezing the chassis development has been thoroughly discussed as McLaren is set to part ways with its current engine partner Renault and switch to the power unit of Mercedes. The engine partner change will involve lots of work on the chassis side of the car as the Renault and Mercedes power units feature very different architecture and layout.

Speaking to McLaren’s official website, Team Principal Andreas Seidl confirmed that the Woking-based outfit will not abandon its plans to switch from Renault to Mercedes for the 2021 season despite the decision to continue with the actual cars next year. He also added that McLaren will be allowed to implement the necessary changes it needs to accommodate the Mercedes power unit.

„This decision does not impact our change to Mercedes power units in 2021. We will be allowed to make the necessary changes to our car to accommodate this,” he said.