McLaren’s 2020 Formula 1 car still has “some issues to solve” heading into the new season, according to the team’s technical director James Key. 

The Woking squad enjoyed a solid pre-season test in Barcelona and heads into the new campaign aiming to build on its fourth-place finish in the 2019 constructors’ championship. 

McLaren’s latest challenger - the MCL35 - was the first to be designed under the leadership of Key and while he is happy with the potential of the new car, he admits areas for improvement remain. 

“I think we have got some issues to solve to be honest, it’s not a Mercedes-beater quite yet,” Key said. 

"There’s still some stuff to do, but I think as we’ve put the bits on this week [second test] the balance of the car has come together better. 

“All those bits were in areas which seemed to be still quite prolific at the moment with development scope, the car is reacting well to changes aerodynamically in the development process, so there’s a lot more potential there.” 

Key says having to balance 2020 development alongside the design process for a brand new car amid a regulation overhaul for 2021 will lead to more updates coming during the early rounds of the season. 

“We need to be quite targeted,” Key added. 

“And with 2021 there’s a balancing act to be struck for everyone, but there is quite a bit of potential in it and we have a whole round of bits coming in the opening races because of that. 

“We’ve already good new areas we’re looking at which they are beyond the new bits we introduced this week. there’s still quite a bit to come and quite a bit of potential.”