James Key sees comparisons between 2009 and 2022: ‘Teams are getting innovative’


James Key, McLaren’s technical director, expects the 2022 season to show some comparisons with 2009. In particular, the limited space to come up with ideas means that the teams will become more creative, according to Key: “That happened in 2009 too. already.”

In 2009 the rules were changed and it was no longer McLaren and Ferrari that competed for the title, but Brawn GP and Red Bull. Brawn GP dominated that season, thanks in part to the double diffuser. Although we cannot expect something like a double diffuser this year, according to James Key, the technical director of McLaren, according to the designer this year can certainly be compared to 2009.

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“Technically, we have fewer resources to play with,” James Key tells Motorsport-Magazin. “But that gives rise to many ideas that you would not have even thought of in 2021.”

According to Key, these limitations in some areas make the teams more creative. “In times like these you become very innovative. It also happened in 2009. They all realized that there are many things that could be done. It was just a little more subtle and complicated. It will be the same in 2022. I think we will see some differences and different ideas among the teams.”

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The fear among fans that the cars will resemble each other is unnecessary, according to Key, because the teams will come up with their own ideas. “I think the development rates will be quite high. Everyone should first get to know the cars of 2022. We have to compare them on the track. We need to see what everyone has done,” Key said.

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