McLaren is bracing for a challenging start to the season in Bahrain with a slow car that failed to meet its launch targets. The Woking team realised too late that they had gone in the wrong direction, and as a result, they will introduce an upgrade package until the Azerbaijan Grand Prix at the end of April. The team realises that they may fall behind their midfield rivals, and Lando Norris is hoping that the Baku package represents a first move towards addressing the car’s limitations.
Norris believes that McLaren has a more “clear plan” than last year on how to overcome the MCL60’s weaknesses when they lost out to Alpine in the fight over fourth. He thinks McLaren is in a “reasonable position” to start the season, but they still have several limitations, with the general balance and overall downforce being the main issues. Improved downforce can fix 90% of the team’s problems, but there is still work to be done to take the final step.
Although McLaren has repeatedly stated it is banking on the new wind tunnel and simulator to make bigger leaps, Norris feels that the team still needs to get more done with the tools they have at their disposal. The team needs to do more with what they have now. The Baku upgrade should be what they were starting the season with. If the team wants to be in the top league, then they should have started the season with those kinds of upgrades. Until then, they will make the best of what they have now.