McLaren: Sprint Qualifying weekend will require ‘different approach’

McLaren technical director James Key says that this year’s F1 Spring Qualifying trials will require a different technical approach to the team’s race weekend.

F1 will experiment at three venues this season its innovative Sprint Qualifying format that will see drivers compete in a 100-kilometer race on Saturday afternoon that will determine their grid positions for race day.

Teams are taking an open mind approach to the new concept that will premiere at this summer’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

But the format will nevertheless require a few changes for McLaren compared to a typical race weekend.

“Our simulation guys have been trying to get an idea of how things are going to work out while drafting these rules,” Key told Motorsport.com’s Dutch website.

“I don’t think it really changes anything for us, from the perspective of the car, other than asking how we can quickly adapt to a different set-up for the weekend. So we will have to try to use those weekends in a different way.”

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Key believes the altered format won’t allow for the introduction of new parts, while the team will also heavily rely on simulation to help fast track its set-ups.

“When you consider what we did in Barcelona with all those new aerodynamic parts, it is very difficult to do that in a sprint race weekend. There is simply not enough time,” the Briton added.

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“I think we will approach such a weekend differently from a technical perspective.

“We will prepare better for the set-up and we will certainly have to do a lot more work in the simulator to see how a sprint race could turn out.

“Then it’s a matter of fine-tuning. So I think it will be a matter of extremely good preparation and a very clear test program for the drivers.”

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