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McLaren considering extreme low-drag set-up for F1 Russian GP

Fernando Alonso McLaren F1 2018

McLaren is considering running with a more extreme Monza-style set-up on its car at the Russian Grand Prix in a bid to improve its straightline speed performance.

The team's progress this year has been hindered by a car that has more drag than its rivals, plus a gear ratio choice that is not ideal for long straights.

While the gear ratio issue cannot be sorted because teams are stuck with them for the season, McLaren still thinks it can make top speed gains through aerodynamic changes.

Following some encouraging results from a more aggressive setup choice to reduce drag that was trialled in practice at the Italian Grand Prix, the team is ready to give those ideas another run at Sochi.

Fernando Alonso said: "Some of the ideas we tested in Monza where we improved on the Saturday were more for drag reduction, so will be implemented.

"Hopefully Russia will be the first opportunity to revisit those setups."

Sporting director Gil de Ferran suggests a final decision on its plans for Russia have not been sorted, but says the success of the new setup in Italy means it likely it will be used.

McLaren F1 Monza 2018

"I won't get into details obviously," said de Ferran when asked by Autosport about the plans. "We always try to do the best we can and step forward.

"We're trying to bring a little bit of aero developments every race but that's not the only thing: we're exploring different spaces.

"Like Fernando said, in Monza we decided to take a completely different direction and it worked well for that type of track, and maybe we'll explore a similar direction again in Russia.

"The work hasn't stopped. We're full-on on next year's car but we come in to every weekend trying to do a little bit better, fight for points, and improve our position in the championship."

Alonso is currently eighth in the drivers' championship standings after his seventh place finish in the Singapore Grand Prix, while McLaren is sixth in the constructors' standings, 18 points behind Haas and 26 ahead of the 'new' Force India, which has only been eligible for points since the Belgian Grand Prix.

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