McLaren planning ‘kind of B-spec’ F1 car upgrade before summer

McLaren have confirmed plans to introduce a “kind of B-spec car” as one of three major upgrades amid its F1 2023 recovery bid. 
Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL60. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 2, Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia,
Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL60. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 2,…

The British squad have endured a miserable start to the new season after failing to hit key development targets during the off-season, which have resulted in their MCL60 challenger being too draggy. 

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McLaren are yet to score a point in the opening two rounds and sit rock bottom of the F1 2023 constructors’ championship

Team principal Andrea Stella revealed his side will bring a major car upgrade before F1’s summer break, in addition to the planned Baku update which has already been signed off. 

"So the improvement of car performance should start in Baku," Stella said ahead of this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix. 

"The improvement in Baku should affect an area of the car that I think has been clear from the presentation of the car, we weren't entirely happy with in terms of development. It's just the first step.

"We would expect definitely another major upgrade, which will address more areas of the car. It will be much more apparent, it's what somebody may call kind of a B-spec car. 

"And then we expect to have a further round of upgrades in the second part of the season after the [summer] shutdown.

"So we have three main steps: Baku, later on, I don't want to commit to any date, but before shutdown, and then after shutdown. 

“We hope that each of them will be able to provide a few tenths of a second, so that we put ourselves in a more realistic position to meet our ambition to become a top four car towards the end of the season.”

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It comes after McLaren rejigged their technical leadership structure, with technical director James Key leaving the team. 

Key’s role has been split into three separate technical director positions, with Peter Prodromou focusing on aerodynamics and Neil Houldley on engineering and design. 

McLaren have also moved to poach David Sanchez from Ferrari as their head of car concept and performance. The Frenchman will start work at Woking in 2024 once he has completed a period of gardening leave. 

Stella believes the changes to McLaren’s design office will help maximise the planned upgrades for later in the season. 

"The model, which I prefer to call rather than structure, the model changes will affect the delivery of performance, because it will accelerate the development rate," he explained.

"And I think that we will see the impact already not in Baku obviously, because what comes in Baku was released in design like two months ago. But definitely will impact the next round of updates."

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