The Woking outfit is in a tight battle with Ferrari over P3 in the team’s standings, a position it currently holds with a slender five-point margin after the opening four races.

McLaren introduced a new front wing and floor at last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix and technical director James Key insists development on the MCL35M will continue despite teams having to work on an all-new car for 2022 in parallel.

“We’ve been bringing little bits and pieces from the start of the season with our race one-spec car, which we tested in Bahrain before we hit Bahrain for the race at the beginning of the year,” Key explained in Barcelona.

“Since then, we’ve been doing sort of minor updates as we’ve gone through. This race was the first to introduce heavier steps that we wanted to make.

“We had a tweak on the front wing architecture, it’s a new front wing and the floor as well, where the regulations really kicked in at the side of the floor.

“That’s still an area which is ripe for development and it’s still quite raw I think, you kind of see a theme beginning to develop there. But there’s still plenty of performance to be found in some of these fresher areas.”

After a positive reaction from drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren went on to race the updates in Barcelona.

“We had a lot of work to do to make sure we were happy with how the parts are working, tune the cars to them, give the drivers the opportunity to back to back and we’ve kept the spec that we brought,” Key said.

“So we have updated the car with the new parts, which is great news and an excellent effort from all the guys in the aero and everyone factory to design it and push it through the production process to get it here on time and give us the sets that we needed.”


McLaren’s focus will now switch to other areas where its 2021 F1 car can be improved, although new parts are unlikely to be brought to the next race in Monaco.

“We haven’t finished the 35M yet, there’s a few updates still to come,” Key added. “There’s some still in a conceptual phase at the moment as well and we’ll be bringing those as we go along.

“There’s no set target events, at the moment, for any of them – we’ll put them on the car when they seem to be ready and available to test, in some cases at the right kind of track.

“Monaco isn’t always the best place to bring certain things so they may be delayed for the following circuits and so on, and keep sort of drip-feeding the car with new bits.”

Having been outscored by Ferrari for the first time in 2021 in Spain, McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl insisted further upgrades will be key to keeping ahead of its chief rival this year.

“It's good to see it's obviously a very tight battle, especially with Ferrari,” he said. “It’s simply important to make sure we keep bringing upgrades to the car in the next races in order to keep this battle of P3 alive.

“It's good that we still have this P3 despite us struggling this weekend compared to them but we're expecting a season-long battle with them.”