Hungarian Grand Prix – Stoffel Vandoorne has confirmed he will run a different chassis this weekend, as McLaren seek answers for recent unexplainable aero inconsistencies.
Stoffel Vandoorne has confirmed to Formula1.com that he will run a different chassis this weekend, after struggling for the last couple of races. He has trailed teammate Fernando Alonso throughout most of 2018, with matters getting worse recently as he struggled to find any pace compared to anyone else.
Both he and Alonso have confirmed the team have found aero inconsistencies and issues with his car and have decided to give him a fresh chassis as a result: “Yes, we have swapped the chassis.” said Vandoorne.
“It’s not a brand new one, it’s one we’ve used before, but that’s not a problem at all. The fact the team has put in a lot of effort to try and get everything ready with a back-to-back race, it was quite tight for the mechanics to make it happen. But I arrive here fresh, and I start from zero.
“The team put in a lot of effort to try and understand the problems we had. At the moment, we don’t know. There’s no specific area we can say ‘okay that’s what’s causing it’ and Friday we have a couple of tests in place across the cars to further understand. Hopefully tomorrow we can spot nothing as that means the two cars are going to be good.
“I was pushing the team for it. Obviously what we did over the past couple of races we started to change a lot of parts and there came a point where we nearly did everything we could and that was one of the last pieces remaining. It’s not easy for the team to do that, especially when it’s a back-to-back race, but they’ve managed it.”
Undetectable problems with chassis can happen. In 2014, Sebastian Vettel changed his Red Bull chassis twice in efforts to rediscover lost form, while Lewis Hamilton also changed chassis in the tail end of the 2013 season due to large cracks being discovered.
“Austria was fine and then the first lap at Silverstone it didn’t feel right from the start and I think we’ve been last in every session since. There was just no grip.” explained Vandoorne.
“The team already saw from Silverstone that there was something going on. But it was hard to tell it was a chassis-related issue. At the moment we haven’t driven the car yet so we don’t know yet but we’ve done everything now to remove the doubt.
“For them it was clear to see on the data that something was going on, but it was hard to know exactly what part was causing it, so we first started to change a lot of the bits on the car and make sure there was nothing wrong with the build, but whatever we did it still had the same problem.”
“The team has really taken this seriously and they’ve put in a lot of effort to resolve the issue and I think we’ve removed every kind of doubt now that there might have been. Hopefully we can start the weekend here from zero without any problems and just have a normal weekend again. That’ll be a nice feeling.”