McLaren boss Andrea Stella confessed on the day of its launch that the team is not fully satisfied with their 2023 F1 challenger. However, he is optimistic that early-season improvements will bring about significant progress.
McLaren unveiled their MCL60 race car at their technology centre on Monday, marking the start of a busy week of car launches leading up to the new season.
Although Stella confirmed that the team has addressed most of their intended areas for improvement, he acknowledged that some aspects of the 2023 car were not fully optimized due to the realization of certain strong directions “a little late into the development.”
“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 the aerodynamics,” he said.
“Aerodynamics is the name of the game in F1, so no mystery. But there’s some areas, for instance, interaction with the tyres, there’s some work that we needed to do and this was done over the winter.
“There’s some areas of the car that will be interested by development in the early stage of the season. We are happy – not entirely happy for what is the launch car – but optimistic that it should take a good step soon.”
McLaren aims to reclaim its fourth place in the constructor’s championship from their rival, Alpine, and restore their position at the top of the highly competitive F1 midfield.
Stella acknowledged that missed development opportunities could hinder McLaren at the start of the season, but revealed that the team plans to bring upgrades that are scheduled to coincide with the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on April 30.
“It’s always difficult to translate what you see over the winter in terms of development into where you’re going to be in terms of pecking order,” he said.
“But, we try to relate this to ourselves and, as I said before, I think while we are happy with the development of the car in most of the areas, there is some areas which we realised a little late into the development some really strong directions.
“So, not necessarily we will be able to capitalise these directions in the very short term, and that’s why I also talk about the developments coming just after the start of the season.
“So in this sense, I just invoke realism. In a way, it’s more relative to ourselves but it’s such a competitive game that I would be surprised if – normally you need to be totally happy and totally at the top of what you can do to achieve your targets let’s say – that’s why we talk about realism.”