McLaren reveal the targeted arrival date for first ‘major’ MCL38 upgrade

Henry Valantine
McLaren driver Lando Norris rounds the opening chicane.

McLaren have started the 2024 F1 season in much better shape than this time last year.

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella has revealed the team are targeting a Miami or Imola arrival date for their first “major upgrade” of the season.

McLaren have started the season competitively, but still sit marginally behind Ferrari in the competitive order on the evidence of the first two races, though Red Bull and Max Verstappen lead the way as it stands.

McLaren reveal major upgrade plans for ‘race six or seven’

Both Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri were buoyed by their performance in Bahrain, despite their P6 and P8 finishes, with the season-opening venue having traditionally been an unhappy hunting ground for McLaren in recent years.

Piastri followed that up with an impressive fourth place finish in Saudi Arabia, while Norris ended down in eighth after an alternate strategy did not fall in his favour.

The team were encouraged by the early-season performance of the MCL38 however, and team principal Stella confirmed that developments are coming to the car in the next few races, before a “major upgrade” slated for either Miami or Imola in May.

“We have some minor things that will come for Australia and hopefully for Japan, but they will be [delivering] a few milliseconds,” Stella told reporters in Jeddah, as quoted by

“And then hopefully, within the first third of the season, we will have a major upgrade. It’s going to be for around race six or seven.” recommends

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Having explained to reporters in Jeddah that McLaren were losing time in the longer corners on the track, that made up part of the reason why they are not higher up the grid.

But another place in which they are putting focus, Stella revealed, is what happens when their rear wing opens.

“The other area in which we seem to be losing some time is the sections where DRS is deployed,” he explained.

“Actually, our top speed was competitive, away from DRS deployed, but then especially compared to Red Bull, we lose time [with] DRS on.

“So I think we are first of all, I would say, happy from a competitiveness point of view, but definitely we can see that the areas where we have a weaknesses, they do compromise our ultimate performance and our competitiveness.”

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