McLaren poised to stay in attack mode with another major upgrade in the works

Thomas Maher
Lando Norris leaves his pit box after one of his pit stops. Canada June 2023.

McLaren driver Lando Norris speeds out of his pit box after stopping. Canada June 2023.

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella has confirmed there will be no let-up in the Woking-based team’s push on development in the second half of the season.

Having rolled out a hugely impressive upgrade package during the middle stages of the 2023 season, the McLaren MCL60 climbed from midfield mediocrity to a front-runner almost immediately after the new parts began to be fitted in Austria.

Making the most of the extra wind tunnel time they enjoy over the likes of rivals Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull, McLaren were only bested by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at Silverstone and the Hungaroring to vindicate their upgrade step.

Andrea Stella confirms more evolution is coming for the MCL60

Unlike in previous years, where an early switch to concentrate on the following year’s car would be beneficial for most teams, the stable regulations for 2024 mean there’s no real need for teams to switch off 2023 development in order to concentrate solely on next year’s car.

Unless a team is going for a major concept change, developments will be applicable for next year, and McLaren team boss Andrea Stella confirmed that their car will be developed more between now and the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

“We’re working on some evolution of these concepts for post-shutdown,” he told media, including, in Belgium.

“We are definitely working on an evolution of this package. So another round of bodywork and floor – we still have to sign this off, we have a few more days of work.

“If we are successful, then we will definitely attempt to bring it to one of the events soon after the shutdown.” recommends

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As for whether the upgrade will offer a similar step up in pace to the last round, Stella smiled.

“We will see, it’s very difficult to say,” he said.

“I think we kind of understand what happened with this one. But what we’re working on is not only simple millimetres, is a bit of a conceptual evolution.

“So there’s a degree of uncertainty like in all aerodynamic evolutions. Really the evidence comes only when you test these kinds of things trackside because, even if you have good wind tunnel correlation, and good CFD correlation, you’re always a little bit on the edge of knowledge.

“This is the same for every team so you can always say yes, once you have tested trackside.”

Andrea Stella identifies area of “urgency” for McLaren

But the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps confirmed McLaren’s fears that they would be vulnerable in low-drag scenarios in dry conditions, as Lando Norris plummeted down the order in the early stages of the race – only a canny strategy change allowed him to escape racing scenarios to climb back through the field.

With the high-speed Monza circuit coming up, Stella said it’s a matter of urgency that McLaren rectify this weakness.

“This weekend confirmed that the areas that we haven’t addressed yet give us a reality check that there’s more work to do, and to some extent confirm that those areas need to be addressed quite urgently,” he said.

“This urgency, for instance, comes from the fact that the second race after the shutdown is Monza. You can’t go racing in Monza like this, so there’s urgent work that needs to happen at McLaren to fix the situation.”

Read More: McLaren boss stresses ‘urgent work’ needed ahead of critical post-break Grand Prix