McLaren enter F1 development war with triple MCL60 update ready for launch

Henry Valantine
McLaren driver Oscar Piastri. Canada June 2023.

Oscar Piastri enters Turn 1 during the Canadian Grand Prix. Montreal June 2023.

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella has said a “major overhaul” of the MCL60 is coming over the course of several races, with three sizeable upgrades due to arrive on the car.

Stella has spoken of the effective “redesign” the car is currently undergoing after an underwhelming start to 2023 saw Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri struggling to make it into the points-paying positions at all in the early races.

Currently, McLaren are wedged firmly in the congested midfield fight, but their 17 points are less than half of fifth placed Alpine’s tally, and Ferrari in fourth currently have 122 on the board.

With that, change is needed quickly – and so big are the improvements McLaren are looking at bringing to the car, Stella said they will be placed on the MCL60 incrementally.

“Most of the upgrades we will see over the course of the following events, so there will be a major overhaul of the car that will be delivered across Austria, UK and Hungary,” Stella told reporters in Canada.

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The team boss, who was promoted to replace Audi-bound Andreas Seidl at the start of the season, said McLaren noticed almost immediately that the car was not in the right place to be able to compete with the cars at the front of the field.

But the upgrades they’re bringing at the coming European rounds are in the hope of finding at least “a few tenths” per lap as they look for a way up the pecking order.

“Well, relatively soon, at the start of the season, we realised that the car needed a fundamental redesign so this redesign is actually interesting, I would say, pretty much every single aerodynamic part, that’s why the upgrades will be spread over the course of a few races,” Stella elaborated.

“It will be decently noticeable. We had to redesign even some parts under the bodywork. That’s also why it took some time to be in condition to deliver these upgrades. So I would say pretty much the entire car.

“We haven’t tested them in the simulator yet, but they just pretty much deliver more downforce with similar characteristics.

“So actually, the key point is whether they will correlate trackside. But I think correlation so far has been good.

“I think with this generation of cars in general, correlation with development tools is good. So we expect a few tenths of a second of lap time improvement.”