Belgian Grand Prix – McLaren have updated their engine cover. Sticking to their size zero concept, the profile of the spine of the cover has been altered and a shark fin added. Now that they have their MKIII Honda Power Unit, McLaren have acted proactively by bring new bodywork to also fit around the new slimmer Honda V6, a result of which means a much sleeker spine coming from the roll hoop down toward the rear wing.
The previous engine cover had a longer horizontal top section, before sloping downwards towards the rear end of the car, because of the longer horizontal section, it meant that the tailing off of the the cover was at quite a steeper angle. The length of the horizontal section of the cover has been reduced, influencing the rest of the profile along the spine.
By reducing the length of the horizontal section, means that the height of the cover can be reduced sooner and at a much smoother angle which will help aid airflow. It results in more free space to induce cleaner air flow towards the rear of the car, which could help with downforce and maybe not require a steeper angle of attack on the rear wing elements with more cleaner air reaching the rear wing.
In order to help direct airflow and to reduce the turbulence of the air flowing around and off of the cover a small shark fin has been installed along the spine of the cover. This fin acts similar to that of a vertical tail on a plane, however, its not anywhere near as crucial in terms of stability and balance of the car. It provides a guide to send the air in a straight direction before meeting the airflow from it’s opposing side, if this wasn’t place there, it could mean airflow bleeds over and becomes more turbulent which would then ruin the idea of a longer rearward gradient.