McLaren was testing a Renault-like forward-exiting exhaust concept on its newly launched MP4-26 car at Jerez on Thursday.
The car debuted by Lewis Hamilton at the Spanish circuit therefore differed fundamentally from the version launched in Berlin recently, according to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.
There had been speculation that the 2011 McLaren was set to race with an unique exhaust layout this season, after Robert Kubica drove the similarly innovative Renault R31 to the fastest time in Valencia last week before injuring himself in a rally crash.
Auto Motor und Sport’s Jerez correspondent said McLaren’s rear-exiting conventional exhaust layout had mysteriously vanished when Hamilton exited the pits at Jerez on Thursday morning.
Instead, the exhausts are now exiting at the front of the sidepods, with the innovation only spotted by reporters when mechanics had to pause on one occasion whilst pushing Hamilton back into the garage after a run on Thursday.
“As with the Renault the detail is very difficult to photograph,” confirmed the German report.