McLaren ‘not entirely happy’ with launch-spec F1 car

The McLaren MCL60

The McLaren MCL60

McLaren F1 boss Andrea Stella has admitted he’s not entirely happy with the MCL60 as it was launched on Monday evening in Woking.

Unlike many others, McLaren opted to launch its race car rather than a show car.

While hopeful of his team’s chances heading into the new year, Stella confessed there are areas for which improvements are already in the pipeline.

McLaren last year slipped to fifth in the championship standings behind Alpine but is hoping to rebound this time around.

Room for improvement

“Assessing our performance last year and looking at competitors, we identified multiple areas of opportunities,” he said of the launch-spec MCL60.

“The good news is that pretty much all of them have been addressed.

“I wouldn’t want to be too specific, but certainly they have to do predominantly with aerodynamics – aerodynamics is the name of the game in Formula 1, so no mystery, but there’s some more areas.

“For instance, in terms of interaction with the tyres, there’s some work that we needed to do and this was done over the winter.

“There’s some other areas of the car that will be interested by developments in the early stage of the season.

“So we are not entirely happy for what is the launch car but optimistic that it should take a good step.”

Top of the midfield

McLaren was the only team outside of the leading three to record a podium finish last season, courtesy of Lando Norris at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

It was embroiled in a year-long battle with Alpine for the ‘best of the rest’ title, which it ultimately lost out to its Enstone rivals.

Though some way behind third-best Mercedes, both McLaren and Alpine were well clear of seventh best, Alfa Romeo Sauber.

According to Stella, that gap is set to close as the midfield condenses in the second year of the current regulatory era, though he hopes his team has done enough to rise to the top of that group.

“I think it’s fair to say that, over the course of the season, we would like to establish ourselves as part of the top four,” he said.

“We know realistically that with the top three teams this may mean, potentially, just being the fourth-best car over the course of the season.

“We are realistic in the very short term,” he added.

“There’s good developments already in the pipeline, that should land trackside very soon.

“This should allow us to take a decent step forward.”

McLaren F1 infrastructure projects

McLaren is entering the final stages of a building phase for the team, with a number of significant projects nearing completion.

Chief among those is a new wind tunnel, though that will have little to any impact on this year’s MCL60.

“We are not na├»ve,” Stella said of the year ahead.

“We know that pretty much every team will be staying the same. we have good developments.

“We also have some more high-level developments ongoing, overall in the team.

“I would like to remind the importance of letting the new wind tunnel come to fruition which should happen around mid-year.

“That should be a step change for many reasons, not only the fact that it improves your methodologies.

“There’s also the new simulator as well, we have a new manufacturing facility, so large investments that should come to fruition mid-year.

“This should be [an] extra boost in this race to become top four over the season and hopefully race for more in the medium term.”

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