Formula One is known as an innovation sport where where even the tiniest advantage could mean the difference between victory and defeat. Now, McLaren is working to make the process of testing new designs even quicker, by bringing an entire 3D printer to every race.
The McLaren Formula One team confirmed with 3D printing firm Stratasys to print parts for the MCL32 F1 car on-site during race weekends, starting at the Bahrain Grand Prix next week. Parts like carbon-fiber reinforced hydraulic lines, radio cables, brake cooling ducts, and even rear wing flaps can be printed using the new setup.
"We are consistently modifying and improving our Formula 1 car designs, so the ability to test new designs quickly is critical to making the car lighter and more importantly increasing the number of tangible iterations in improved car performance," said McLaren Racing Design and Development Director Neil Oatley. "If we can bring new developments to the car one race earlier—going from new idea to new part in only a few days—this will be a key factor in making the McLaren MCL32 more competitive."
This means McLaren can develop, print, and implement a new part, all in a single race weekend. If that's not an advantage, we don't know what is.