Lando Norris delivers reaction as first stage of major McLaren upgrade arrives

Thomas Maher
McLaren's Lando Norris on track at the Monaco Grand Prix. Monte Carlo, May 2023.

McLaren's Lando Norris on track at the Monaco Grand Prix. Monte Carlo, May 2023.

The long-awaited McLaren car overhaul will come over the next few races, changes Lando Norris has been eagerly awaiting.

The Woking-based team’s form took a big dip over the winter, with Lando Norris and new teammate Oscar Piastri having had to get used to lowly points finishes, or none at all, as the MCL60 has failed to impress.

Even in the pre-season, McLaren were open about the fact the car was likely to disappoint and admitted that challenging for the top four places in the Constructors’ Championship would be difficult.

A “lot of work” has gone into McLaren’s upgrade package

With technical director James Key ousted from his role and Andrea Stella taking over from Andreas Seidl as team boss, the Spaniard set about outlining a new approach – creating a new technical structure that will see David Sanchez, Pedro Prodromou, and Rob Marshall assume responsibilities for the creation of the car.

But, in the short-term, the team came up with an aggressive upgrade strategy – the MCL60 will go through a huge overhaul of parts over the next few races in what is, effectively, a roll-out of a ‘B-Spec’ car.

As might be expected for a driver who had gotten used to being far closer to the sharp end of the grid in recent years, Norris is eager to get the parts fitted and try to salvage strong results in the second half of the year.

“I look forward to anything that’s new,” Norris said of the impending developments, as quoted by Australia’s Speedcafe.

“It’s been a lot of work that’s gone into it. We’ve been quite patient with what we’ve had; we’ve been chipping away at many other things at the same time.

“We’ve not brought a lot of lap time, pure lap time, to the table over the last… well, since the beginning of the year.

“Of course, there was a new floor in Baku, but that was for philosophy than absolute performance.

“But putting it all together, putting in the work that we’ve been doing, I think we’ve been doing a good job with what we’ve had.” recommends

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What changes are McLaren introducing?

Aside from a somewhat fortuitous sixth-place in Australia, Norris only has two paltry ninth-place finishes to his name this season and is currently floundering in the midfield in 11th spot overall.

Having just pipped Alpine to fourth-place in the Constructors’ Championship last year, the team are hopeful of a turnaround as the upgrades are fitted in Austria, Britain, and Hungary.

“There’s been a lot of work, it’s been a lot of changes, and seeing all of this come together and see what we can do with it… of course, it’s not on track just yet,” Norris said.

“I’m confident we’ll be a step forward. But how much is the question. I don’t want to get too over excited about all of it, I never do, but it’s a lot of work that’s going into it.

“I’m excited to see all of that come through and see what we’re capable of doing.”

Andrea Stella, who was the first to admit performance targets hadn’t been met over the winter, explained that it’s a complete overhaul of the car – the changes likely to have a knock-on effect into next season as the regulations remain stable.

“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,” he said.

“It will be decently noticeable. We had to redesign even some parts under the bodywork. That’s also why it took some time to be in condition to deliver these upgrades. So I would say pretty much the entire car.

“We haven’t tested them in the simulator yet, but they just pretty much deliver more downforce with similar characteristics.

“So actually, the key point is whether they will correlate trackside. But I think correlation so far has been good.

“I think with this generation of cars in general, correlation with development tools is good. So we expect a few tenths of a second of lap time improvement.”