McLaren fire ‘big’ warning to F1 rivals as latest upgrade plan revealed

Thomas Maher
McLaren's Oscar Piastri at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Budapest, July 2023.

McLaren's Oscar Piastri at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Budapest, July 2023.

McLaren won’t be backing off on upgrades between now and the end of the season, CEO Zak Brown has revealed.

With the summer breaking hoving into view after this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, it’s usually the time of year where the teams all start switching their attention to 2024 with some choosing to tail off on introducing upgrades.

But one team who won’t be doing that is McLaren, with the team recently having fitted upgrades that have elevated them from the midfield into prominent positions and two successive podiums.

Zak Brown: There are big things coming for McLaren

Having started the year with a truculent MCL60, the car took a huge step forward in recent races, which began with the introduction of the first stage of a hefty upgrade package.

In Austria, revised sidepods were brought to the car, as well as altered bodywork around the engine cover, and a new floor design – a huge change in the era of ground effect.

At Silverstone, a new front wing and nose, as well as an evolved rear suspenson, resulted in Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri securing second and third on the grid before finishing second and fourth in the race.

The third stage of the upgrade was scheduled for Hungary, but was pushed back as a result of longer-than-expected lead times on production of the parts – meaning the stage may take until after the summer break to complete. recommends

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But, even beyond that, McLaren won’t be backing off on finding further refinements for the car – the stable regulations for 2024 means most of this year’s learning will carry over to next year, as CEO Zak Brown explained to Sky F1.

“We’re pretty much staying the same, everything that we’re learning this season applies then to next season,” he said, when asked about the plans for the rest of the year.

“So we’re head down, we’re full throttle.

“We have more developments coming, we’ll have some stuff, some big stuff later in the year and I think we just keep pushing.

“We see how quickly it can change – you look at Alfa Romeo, they were ninth, 10th in the championship and then they were quick in qualifying, and Williams has been in Q3.

“So it’s so close. I don’t think we can sit here and assume anything.”

Speaking in the press conference on Friday in Hungary, McLaren team boss Andrea Stella confirmed there will be more new parts coming to the car following the roll-out of the final stage of the existing upgrade package.

“When it comes to the upgrades, actually, we realised that we need – from a design and production point of view – a bit more time to complete the full round,” he said, of the existing package.

“So, what we will actually see is that there will be some new parts coming in the next races and, above all, post-shutdown.”

What about the team McLaren are chasing?

While McLaren continue to make changes to their car, Red Bull have already confirmed that the only tweaks left to be made to the RB19 will be circuit-specific, rather than being a general step for their package.

“With the handicap that we have, we have to really swing our focus over to next year, because we have a significant deficit on wind tunnel time compared to our competitors,” team boss Christian Horner said on Sunday.

“We have to be very selective about how we use it. We will have a few circuit-specific things but nothing that hasn’t been done already, or already committed through the research and development.”

In theory, then, the gap between Red Bull and McLaren, seemingly the two quickest cars in F1 at the moment, should shrink further as the season goes on…

Read More: Red Bull upgrade plans: Christian Horner reveals intriguing new information for rival teams