McLaren Formula 1 technical director James Key said plans for the team’s new wind tunnel are working a year later than expected due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
McLaren announced last year that it plans to modernize its facilities at its Woking base and build a new wind tunnel after receiving approval from the company’s board of directors.
McLaren has used Toyota’s wind tunnel in Cologne in recent years, but was eager to update and set up their own facilities by 2021.
This push was initiated by team principal Andreas Seidl after his arrival from Porsche, who identified an internal wind tunnel as a key area that would help improve the development and performance of the car.
However, the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the suspension of all of its major projects, including the construction of the wind tunnel.
Key explained that although the plans were left around a year behind their original predictions, the delay in 2021 regulations until 2022 means the development assistance schedule for the next car cycle has remained longer. or less the same.
“These various CapEx projects are gradually starting to pick up again,” Key explained.
“We are coming out of the back of a pretty big situation in the world, which has set all these projects back.
“I think for the original plan we would have had our tunnel in the middle of next year, so we would have missed the ’21 car development period, but then we would have started for 22, so year two.
“I guess you could say it would be a similar time now in that regard.
“But we’re going to miss out on a bit of the extra technology you get with a brand new installation. So from a technical standpoint, that’s a bit of a shame.
“But I think in terms of alignment with the regulations, he’s probably a year behind.”
McLaren has already confirmed that it will cut around 1,200 jobs across its company, including around 70 in the F1 team.
The company signed a loan with the National Bank of Bahrain in June in an attempt to secure additional financing, but said earlier this month that “the bad news is behind us.”