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McLaren confident despite aerodynamic shortfall



McLaren confident despite aerodynamic shortfall

McLaren’s MCL60 has compromised aerodynamic performance due to a shift in development, but the team is confident in an upcoming upgrade to improve lap times. The team is realistic about their current performance and optimistic for the future.

McLaren’s MCL60 missed its primary objective due to a shift in development direction, resulting in compromised aerodynamic performance for the initial races of the 2023 Formula 1 season. During the first two days, neither Lando Norris nor Oscar Piastri prioritized setting the fastest lap times, with Norris reserving his tires for the final day. As a result, their rankings may not accurately reflect their true performance level.

At the beginning of the season, it appears that McLaren is not vying for the top spot among the mid-field teams, and its competitors in this group are confused about its unexpectedly low position in the rankings. Recently, Zak Brown, the CEO of McLaren Racing, acknowledged that some of their development goals were not achieved. Furthermore, the team principal, Andreas Stella, has revealed that their aerodynamic performance has fallen short of the intended level of efficiency.

In response to a question posed by F1Lead, Andreas Stella elaborated on Zak Brown’s previous statement by stating that the team had specific goals in mind for their developments last year. These objectives included improving aerodynamic efficiency, optimizing tire usage, and enhancing the car’s balance. While the majority of these objectives have been accomplished, the team has not yet achieved the desired level of aerodynamic efficiency. As a result, McLaren may not be able to compete among the top four contenders until this goal is achieved.

McLaren confident despite aerodynamic

According to Stella, the area where McLaren has fallen short is in terms of aerodynamic efficiency, which is still below their intended level. The term “aerodynamic efficiency” is open to interpretation, but it could mean that the team was unable to achieve the desired amount of downforce without adding significant drag, or that the car has sufficient downforce but is unable to use it effectively.

Stella indicated that the current car is the result of development work that occurred two to three months ago and is not the product of the recent change in development direction that the team implemented too late to have it ready for the start of the season.

It seems that McLaren did not miss its targets due to a flawed concept, infrastructure problem, or human error. Rather, the team has not yet been able to produce the car that it desires for the 2023 season.


According to Stella, the team acknowledged late in the development process that some directions had more potential in terms of development rate and long-term potential. This indicates that McLaren may have shifted its development focus too late in the process to achieve the desired level of aerodynamic efficiency in time for the beginning of the season.

Stella explained that McLaren did not recognize the potential of these new development directions early enough to incorporate them into the initial specification of the car for the season launch.

Despite this setback, the team is confident in their upcoming upgrade. The upgrade is expected to be a significant revision with the potential to improve lap times, and it will not be limited by the current package. The update is not necessarily a B-spec MCL60, according to Stella. It is a new development path that McLaren is taking, and it is expected to be a major improvement over the current car.

McLaren confident despite aerodynamic

However, the upgrade may not be available until the Azerbaijan Grand Prix at the end of April, which means that the team may continue to struggle with compromised aerodynamic performance in the opening races of the season.

According to Stella, McLaren is still defining the package for the upgrade, and there are a few components that have the potential to make a significant difference in lap time. He did not reveal what those components are, but he suggested that they could improve the car’s aerodynamic efficiency.

The upgrade may not result in a completely different car, but it is expected to have a significant impact on performance. This is why McLaren has been realistic about its prospects for the start of the season, as they recognize that they do not currently have the car they desire and that it will take time to achieve their goals. Therefore, the team is waiting for the upgrade to arrive, which they hope will allow them to compete at a higher level in the latter part of the season.

Despite the dramatic spin by Piastri on the final morning of testing at Turn 10, McLaren does not appear to be surprised by the car’s performance in Bahrain. While the car has looked unsettled at times, it is performing as the team expected, which is not competitive enough.

Stella commented that based on what he has seen over the two testing days, the team’s performance is in line with their expectations, and there have been no surprises. The data they have gathered so far is consistent with their expectations from an aerodynamic perspective. Therefore, the team’s current position in the rankings is not unexpected given the compromises they had to make with the car’s aerodynamic efficiency to prioritize other development goals.

McLaren confident despite aerodynamic

Stella also mentioned that the team’s performance at the testing in Bahrain is consistent with what they expected, even in terms of lap times, which can be influenced by various factors such as fuel level, engine mode, and weather conditions. The team is aware that they have work to do but also recognizes that the season is long, and there can be changes in the competitive order throughout the year.

Stella remained optimistic about the team’s prospects, stating that they have a good development rate, and that is where they are focusing their efforts. While they are being realistic about the start of the season, the team remains hopeful and optimistic about their future performance.rioritize other development goals.

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