McLaren MCL60 hits the track for the first time in Bahrain

Jamie Woodhouse
McLaren MCL60 high-side shot.

High-side shot of the McLaren MCL60.

With the F1 2023 Bahrain pre-season test nearly here, McLaren provided the early treat of a first shakedown run of their MCL60, and they were not alone.

The teams and drivers do not have the luxury of time when it comes to getting to know their new creations ahead of the opening round of F1 2023, with the three-day Bahrain test the only one that they will be afforded ahead of the Bahrain GP which gets the season underway.

Fortunately, the teams do still have a little bit of leeway, as they are allowed a pair of filming day runs in their new challengers, limited to 100 kilometres.

And ahead of the first day of testing, the event running from February 23-25, McLaren decided to use this option and take their MCL60 for a spin in Sakhir.

The relative quiet of the Bahrain pit lane was disturbed as McLaren fired up the Mercedes power unit in the back of that MCL60, Norris introducing the challenger to a racing circuit for the first time.

And as Norris put the MCL60 through its paces, attention was drawn to the shaping of the floor, even more so when considering the fact that McLaren blurred out this section of the car on their social channels.

Certainly some work has gone into that part of the MCL60 which McLaren are keen for us not to see yet, but in just a few days whatever innovations are going on will have nowhere to hide.

The Woking squad have been rather downbeat when discussing the MCL60, this a car which they are not yet totally happy with, one which they feel needs an early-season upgrade and that has missed out on key development avenues which they were not quick enough to spot.

Looking at these images though, the engineers have been far from stood still over the winter.

McLaren’s new recruit Oscar Piastri was also on the scene as he prepares for a rookie season which carries the daunting task of hanging with Norris, something which his compatriot, eight-time race winner Daniel Ricciardo could not do.

And McLaren did have some company on this fine day in Sakhir, as Haas too were putting their VF-23 to work.

And that meant a first time at the wheel of the VF-23 for Nico Hulkenberg, who with Haas returns to a full-time Formula 1 seat for the first time since 2019.

Haas wanted an experienced pairing of Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen to speed up their progress through the midfield ranks, and will hope that by the time that the Bahrain test is over, confidence will have increased that this is the driver line-up and challenger to make it happen. recommends

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Hulkenberg will be the one who kicks-off Haas’ official pre-season running when he mans the VF-23 for the morning session of day one, before handing over to Magnussen, a schedule which will alternate for day two and return to the original order for the third and final day.