McLaren expect ‘good step’ with France upgrades

Henry Valantine
Lando Norris, McLaren, takes plenty of kerb. Austria, July 2022.

Lando Norris, McLaren, takes plenty of kerb at the Red Bull Ring. Austria, July 2022.

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl confirmed the team have upgrades with them in France, which they expect to bring more downforce to the MCL36.

These changes are being made with the hope of bringing the team back on terms with Alpine in terms of outright pace, with the French team having been more competitive in recent rounds – heading into their home race level with McLaren for fourth in the Constructors’ Championship.

McLaren’s upgrades are not small either, with the team reportedly bringing floor changes, new sidepods and rear brake vents to Paul Ricard this weekend, which should go some way to closing the performance gap to Alpine – should they work as intended.

“It’s important to keep the positive momentum going,” team boss Seidl said of the team’s current prospects, per Auto Motor und Sport.

Alpine have been out-pacing McLaren for the past several races, though, with Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo having come away from Austria with a double points finish to ease the rate at which Alpine have been catching up – though Esteban Ocon’s comfortable run to fifth and Fernando Alonso fighting from the back showed the pace of the A522.

With the team putting together consistent results to reel the Woking team in, Seidl believes his squad are capable of getting back on terms with Alpine.

He added that the upgrades they’re bringing to France should pay dividends, though overhauling them in one fell swoop is not guaranteed.

“That’s what we’ve been missing,” he said of the team’s consistency. “Our performance has fluctuated too much depending on the track. Alpine has overtaken us in the last few races with some upgrades and is more stable.

“Given the problems we had in the first half of the season, we did well against a team that developed their car aggressively.

“It’s a good step in terms of downforce, [but] it’s difficult to fix all the problems with one development stage.”

McLaren’s tally of 81 points is almost exactly half of the 163 they had scored by this stage last season.

Seidl recently admitted McLaren are on course to go “considerably” over the sport’s budget cap for 2022, though he feels the majority of the teams on the grid will be in a similar situation.


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