The McLaren MCL60 has arrived, now it is time to take a closer look

Jamie Woodhouse
McLaren MCL60 side on.

A side-on look at the McLaren MCL60.

McLaren kicked off a busy day of Formula 1 launches with the reveal of the MCL60, and it certainly is sporting a lot of black.

As McLaren move on from their MCL36 challenger of 2022, their new model for the 2023 campaign, the MCL60, on first glance has us playing a game of spot the difference, with a plentiful list of similarities between the MCL36 and MCL60.

The resemblance though is not quite as extreme as the one seen between the Red Bull RB18 and RB19, with this McLaren MCL60 sporting some unique visual characteristics to call its own. So, let’s delve into some of these details.

Black has sadly become a key colour for many Formula 1 teams in this new regulatory era, as the scramble to find ways of shaving weight off the cars has made the paint job a cheap way of saving some grams.

It is little surprise then to see the MCL60 going in heavy on the black, a challenger named specifically to mark the team’s 60th anniversary.

There is also a nice mark to the significance of this year in the team’s history at the bottom of the nose cone.

Front-facing image of the McLaren MCL60.

While Velo branding remains on the sidepods and front-wing edges, there is an increased amount of car space for Google, with their Chrome branding appearing on the main element of the front wing, as well as down the side of the airbox and on the side of the cockpit.

This partnership, a multi-year one agreed in 2022, is also inspiration for the colour scheme on those wheel covers, while the Chrome logo appears also on the wheel fairings.

McLaren struck another major deal ahead of the 2023 season as DP World came onboard, their branding appearing on the side of the front nose.

Towards the back there is a further tribute in purple and orange to the team’s 60th anniversary.

McLaren MCL60 high-side shot.
High-side shot of the McLaren MCL60.

Darktrace branding continues to feature on the rear wing, this time on the back of the upper element, rather than the front.

The papaya and orange is now rather adding highlights to break up the black on the MCL60, instead of serving as the dominant colours.

Low-rear shot McLaren MCL60.
Low-rear look at the McLaren MCL60. recommends

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It is testament to the team’s turnaround in recent years that the MCL60 is overflowing with sponsor branding. Just a few years ago the McLaren challengers were looking a little bare as the team fought to escape a negative spiral, but now there is a real air of positivity surrounding the Woking squad.

Likely boosted by the popular figure of Lando Norris in their driver line-up, McLaren has shot to the upper echelons of the popularity charts in Formula 1.

McLaren MCL60 above view.
A view from above the McLaren MCL60.

The pressure nonetheless is on for McLaren in 2023, as they look to fight back from a 2022 campaign where they slipped to P5 in the Constructors’ standings, scoring just one podium finish courtesy of Norris’ P3 at Imola.

For a team that has set itself the firm expectation of being a front-runner again in 2024, the MCL60 needs to inspire a much-improved 2023 campaign.