The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 team combines the strong driver pairing of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton for the third year running in 2012, along with a substantially revised car to meet the FIA's rule changes. The most noticeable change between last year and the new MP4-27 is at the rear, where tighter rear carbon-fiber composite body shaping has been designed to meet the new-for-2012 exhaust rules, whilst smoothing airflow to and from the coolant and oil radiators.

"We reverted to a more conventional side-pod shape for this season because the U-shape was less suited to the new exhaust geometry restrictions," Director of Engineering Tim Goss explains.

"For 2012, the exhaust tailpipes now have to exit along the U-channel - so that particular feature was no longer really viable due to the new geometry restrictions. As a result, we decided to adopt a different approach to the way we feed the rear of the car.

"The regulations around the exhausts are very prescriptive: the exhausts must now exit within a very tight space at the rear of the car in order to minimize their aerodynamic influence. The final 100mm of the exhausts must be cylindrical - so they can no longer be oval, or flattened - and must be sited at a particular vertical and horizontal angle - between 10 and 30 degrees upwards. That's to direct the exhaust exit away from the floor."

Powerplant

Throughout the car, every component was scrutinized with a view to reducing weight, increasing life and improving performance, but the basic and well proven Mercedes 90 degree 2.4 liter, 32 valve V-8 remains.

"With the regulations remaining relatively stable, we've really been able to focus on the detail with this year's car," says Jenson Button. "I still think we had a very fast package last year - it was very strong in certain areas - and our race pace was almost always fantastic, but we're hoping for a further step forwards in 2012. With Mercedes-Benz, I think we also had the best overall engine and KERS Hybrid package in the pitlane."

Team Green

As a sign of the times, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes became the first carbon-neutral Formula 1 team last year, reducing its carbon footprint and purchasing carbon credits to completely offset the team's emissions during the 2011 season. MP4-27 TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION
  • Monocoque: McLaren-moulded carbon fiber composite incorporating front and side impact structures
  • Front suspension: Inboard torsion bar/damper system operated by pushrod and bell crank with a double wishbone arrangement
  • Rear suspension: Inboard torsion bar/damper system operated by pullrod and bell crank with a double wishbone arrangement
  • Electronics: McLaren Electronic Systems. Including chassis control, engine control, data acquisition, dashboard, alternator, sensors, data analysis and telemetry
  • Bodywork: Carbon-fiber composite. Separate engine cover, sidepods and floor. Structural nose with integral front wing. Driver-operated drag reduction system
  • Tyres: Pirelli P Zero
  • Radio: Kenwood
  • Race wheels: Enkei
  • Brakes: Akebono
  • Batteries: GS Yuasa Corporation
  • Steering: McLaren power-assisted
  • Instruments: McLaren Electronic Systems
  • Paint: AkzoNobel Car Refinishes using Sikkens products
  • Engine: Mercedes-Benz FO 108Z
  • Capacity: 2.4 liters
  • Cylinders: 90 degree V-8
  • Maximum rpm: 18,000
  • Piston bore: 98mm
  • Number of valves: 32
  • Fuel: ExxonMobil High Performance Unleaded (5.75% bio fuel)
  • Spark plugs: NGK racing spark plugs specially designed for Formula 1
  • Lubricants: Mobil 1
  • Weight: 95kg (minimum FIA regulation weight)
  • Gearbox: McLaren-moulded carbon-fibre composite, integral rear impact structure
  • Gears: Seven forward and one reverse
  • Gear selection: McLaren seamless shift, hand-operated
  • Clutch:Carbon/carbon, hand-operated

KERS Hybrid

  • Type: Mercedes-Benz e-Motor, Engine-mounted electrical motor/generator, integrated energy storage cells and power electronics
  • Power: 60 kW