McLaren drivers issue first verdict on MCL38 after Silverstone shakedown

Thomas Maher
McLaren launch the MCL38.

McLaren launched the MCL38 on Wednesday, followed by a shakedown at Silverstone.

Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri both had the chance to take the wheel of the McLaren MCL38 during the team’s filming day shakedown at Silverstone.

Following on from the launch of McLaren’s MCL38 on Wednesday morning, the team headed out on track to use up the first of their two permitted filming days for the year – shaking down the new car with both Norris and Piastri getting the chance to drive.

Driving around in wet conditions on the specially provided Pirelli tyres supplied for such an occasion, the two drivers offered their initial thoughts on the car after climbing out and retreating into the much warmer hospitality suites at the Silverstone circuit.

Lando Norris: I felt very comfortable straight away

Looking back over the day as they spoke to media, including, Norris said it was difficult to get a read on how the car felt compared to last year’s, but was pleased to report that he hadn’t got a shock behind the wheel.

“It’s hard to say just because it was wet here,” he said when asked for his impressions of the new car.

“You don’t really get that many laps, and it’s on tyres that aren’t even the actual tyres we use, so it’s difficult to compare too many things.

“But the main thing is I jumped in and felt very comfortable straight away, no surprises or anything, so comfortable and could just push it to the limit on just a couple of little areas.

“But, honestly, not a lot more to say than that.

“It’s always just a very different thing when you get on track for the first time in Bahrain, depending on weather conditions and all of those things.

“So we have to wait till we get to Bahrain to really understand how they will compare to one another.”

Piastri, entering his second year in F1, agreed with the summation of his teammate.

“Yeah, no surprises today really,” he said.

“Everything felt pretty comfortable and went smoothly which was good.

“But you never really know what you’ve got until you compare it to other people.

“So I think we’ll have to wait a little bit longer to see what we’ve really got but I think, as these kinds of days go, that was smooth sailing.” recommends

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Team boss Andrea Stella, who admitted in his launch quotes that some areas of the car haven’t been optimised to the full extent the team had hoped over the winter, said the MCL38 has made considerable steps forward in the areas targetted but there’s still further ground for gains.

“In terms of improvement, the car is improved…” he said.

“We had three major objectives – one was to improve aerodynamic efficiency, the second one was to improve mechanical grip, and the third one was to improve the interaction with the tyres.

“Now I wouldn’t want to give any proportion but I would say that we’ve been able to improve in all these three areas.

“Even though we see that there’s potential for further improvements in each of these three areas.”

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