Lando Norris, McLaren, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2023

McLaren’s three-race upgrade package will cut “a few tenths” off lap times

2023 Canadian Grand Prix

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The extensive upgrade package McLaren is preparing for its car will have an immediate impact on its performance, says team principal Andrea Stella.

The team’s drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri scored just three points over the last four rounds. During that time Alpine have overtaken McLaren in the standings and the rivals are now separated by 27 points behind in the battle for fifth.

McLaren brought a new low-drag rear wing for their MCL60 in Montreal, designed for use on circuits populated with long straights. However Stella confirmed they will bring an extensive aerodynamic update across the upcoming races in Austria, Britain and Hungary.

On Saturday, after McLaren got both of their cars into Q3, Stella said the timing of McLaren’s upcoming upgrades is “not strategic” but was “just as early as we could first of all design them, and then produce them.”

“Some parts require just a bit more time to be redesigned or evolved and some parts were a little quicker,” he explained. “So not strategic, just as early as possible [and] this is the earliest.”

The first 50% of the upgrade package will come at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, according to Stella, then 25% of the upgrades will be introduced at Silverstone the week after and the remaining 25% will make it onto the MCL60 for the Hungarian Grand Prix two weeks later.

Their plan is complicated partly by the reduced amount of running at the Austrian Grand Prix, which is a sprint race event, and therefore includes only a single practice session.

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While Stella expects McLaren “should be competitive” on the high-speed corners of the Red Bull Ring as they suit the MCL60 in its current specification, he believes that suitability will become less of an influence than it is now on McLaren’s performance once the upgrades arrive.

“I think this [upgrade package] can be more important than how suitable the track is to the characteristic of our car. Ultimately for us, it’s a milestone in terms of possibly turning around the situation this season. Not only thanks to what we bring to Austria, but also with thanks for what will follow in the next races.

“So our focus, more than the characteristics of the track, is now on the car itself. So even if we have only one [practice] session, hopefully we’d be able to validate the new package, and from there move on to a more competitive situation.”

Stella expects the total performance gain “should be a few tenths of a second, [so] should be noticeable, from a lap time point of view”.

In dry conditions, McLaren were around a second off the pace in Canada, and both of their cars were lapped in the previous two races.

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2023 Canadian Grand Prix

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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5 comments on “McLaren’s three-race upgrade package will cut “a few tenths” off lap times”

  1. And we all hope those updates will work together so there is a real performance increase.

  2. I didn’t know Germany had replaced Hungary as the location following Britain.

    1. Crtl +F for “Germany”

      Only instance is within your comment 😒

  3. If there are two teams in the paddock that shouldn’t talk much about their performance enhancements from upgrades, it’s Mclaren and Ferrari. More often than not, they either lose pace or have no effect on pace at all, which is then followed by a press release saying that the upgrades worked, but they’re analysing it to see why it didn’t translate to on track results.

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