Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri showed their skill by securing second and third on the grid for the upcoming race with the help of McLaren‘s latest upgrades. However, the team remains grounded as they recognize that the favorable conditions of the Silverstone circuit, combined with cooler temperatures, played a significant role in their success. They acknowledge that there is still a lot of work to be done to improve the car’s performance across all tracks.
Norris, who narrowly missed out on pole position by two tenths of a second to Max Verstappen, acknowledges the improvements made to the car. He mentions that the overall speed and performance have taken a step forward. However, he also points out that there will be tracks where they will face more difficulties due to their weaknesses, which they still need to address in order to perform consistently.
While McLaren has made progress in addressing the aerodynamic efficiency problems from their initial car design, they continue to struggle with car balance, direction changes in slow speed corners, and a weak rear end that affects their race pace when tires overheat.
McLaren team boss Andrea Stella points out that the strong pace seen at Silverstone, as well as previous races in Spain and Austria, has been aided by cooler temperatures and softer tires that mask some of their car’s issues. Stella notes that high-speed corners, cold conditions, and the C3 tire compounds favor their car, as the rear end finds good grip naturally. However, he also acknowledges that there is still room for improvement, as they can see from the GPS data that some cars are quicker than theirs.
Stella also mentions that while they have improved the car’s aerodynamic efficiency, they still need to make larger improvements in elements that can affect race pace. He expects other cars like Ferrari and possibly Mercedes to be quicker in terms of race pace, and they will need to take into account the conditions, as the cold temperatures should continue to favor them.
When asked about the impact of the upgrades on McLaren‘s main problems, Norris explains that around 70% of the issues have not been solved, while 30% have been addressed by making the car quicker and improving its performance. He believes that adding more load to the car could cover a significant portion of the remaining problems, but it’s not the complete solution. Norris emphasizes that they have struggled with certain characteristics and handling issues for the past five years, and those aspects still pose challenges for them.
In summary, McLaren‘s improved performance at Silverstone is partly attributed to the circuit’s characteristics and the cooler temperatures, which favor their car’s strengths. While they have made progress in addressing some of their aerodynamic efficiency problems, there is still work to be done to improve race pace and overcome weaknesses in certain areas. The team acknowledges that they are not far off but still need to tackle the inherent issues they have faced over the past few years to perform consistently.