Andrea Stella reveals astonishing extent of McLaren MCL60 ‘redesign’

Oliver Harden
Detail shot of Oscar Piastri McLaren MCL60 car in the garage at the Miami Grand Prix. Miami, May 2023.

Detail shot of Oscar Piastri's McLaren MCL60 car in the garage at the Miami Grand Prix. Miami, May 2023.

Team principal Andrea Stella has opened up on the astonishing extent of McLaren’s troubleshooting process in 2023, revealing the team are effectively “redesigning” the aerodynamics of the MCL60 car.

McLaren braced themselves for a tough start to the 2023 campaign after admitting to mistakes in development over the winter, with the team scoring just 17 points in the opening seven rounds.

James Key was ousted as technical director after March’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with McLaren luring the highly rated David Sanchez from Ferrari as part of a restructure.

Last month the team announced the signing of Rob Marshall, a key figure in the success of the dominant Red Bull team.

Speaking at this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, Stella – who succeeded Andreas Seidl as team boss over the winter – has explained that McLaren are planning significant changes to the MCL60 in an upgrade scheduled to appear in Austria next month.

He told the official F1 website: “Definitely, the season so far has told us that we need to keep working hard on improving the car. That’s what we’ve been doing.

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“We saw relatively early that this car wouldn’t have taken us very far in terms of results, so actually we are working on pretty much redesigning aerodynamics and also some of the parts under the bodywork and they will start to see the light in Austria and then for the following races.”

McLaren appeared to take a step forward at the recent Spanish GP where Lando Norris qualified third in cool conditions in Barcelona.

However, with Norris finishing 17th after contact with Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes on the opening lap and team-mate Oscar Piastri classified P13, Stella admits that the picture was misleading with the Mercedes – as well as Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez – underperforming in qualifying.

He explained: “As for Spain, I think directionally what happened there is what we expected with a Saturday, more [competitive] than on Sunday.

“We know that our car likes new tyres, qualifying conditions, it’s good on warm up. It was even cold, [which] we like as well, while we struggle a bit with retaining the grip on the tyres during the race.

“So that was directionally what we expected, but the extent was larger than what we expected with a P3 in qualifying – and, in truth, we have to say that some cars that were quicker than us didn’t deliver. There were two Mercedes, one Ferrari and one Red Bull behind us.

“At the same time in the race, the degradation was a bit higher than we anticipated, so we lost some positions with Oscar and it’s a bit of a shame that we couldn’t see Lando because of the incident in [Turn] 1.”