McLaren introduced a new package for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which attempted to rectify the originally inefficient MCL35. However, while the new floor proved to be somewhat successful, the team’s issues with efficiency persisted. Lando Norris struggled during the race and was unable to pass Nico Hulkenberg for some time due to a lack of top speed. The team’s CEO, Zak Brown, acknowledged this setback, stating that the team has “too much drag,” which makes it difficult to create downforce without impacting speed.
Despite this setback, McLaren did introduce new parts to the car, and is planning on introducing more upgrades in the future. The company hopes to improve the car’s efficiency by optimizing the new structure that they have in place with their new tech structure implemented by team boss Andrea Stella.
Brown is already seeing results from the new tech structure, and thinks that the upcoming upgrades will reflect the work put in by the team. The development plan includes a larger upgrade labelled as a “kind of B-spec arriving” that is expected to be introduced before the summer break.
With Baku as a sprint race, there was not much time for teams to bring upgrades to the street circuit. Brown is confident that future upgrades will benefit from more free practice running at this weekend’s regular format Miami Grand Prix. The CEO believes that the team will be able to “understand exactly what’s going on and tweak it” more with increased practice time.
McLaren is currently fifth in the standings, having benefited from rival Alpine‘s misfortune. Brown recognizes that the other nine teams are also introducing upgrades, so an optimistic outlook will be necessary going forward. Each development and upgrade will have the opportunity to make a big difference in a close season.