Technical changes should impact ‘B-spec’ McLaren by mid-season

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Technical changes should impact ‘B-spec’ McLaren by mid-season

Formula 1

Technical changes should impact ‘B-spec’ McLaren by mid-season


McLaren will have a raft of upgrades big enough to be described as a B-spec car mid-season that should be influenced by its new technical model, says team principal Andrea Stella.

James Key has left as technical director with McLaren last week announcing a new structure that includes three specific leaders within its technical team. Although David Sanchez can’t join from Ferrari until 2024, Stella says there are three clear updates planned with the second being a major car revision that the new technical heads will have impacted on.

“So the improvement of car performance should start in Baku,” Stella said. “The improvement in Baku should affect an area of the car that I think has been clear from the presentation of the car, we weren’t entirely happy with in terms of development. It’s just the first step.

“We would expect definitely another major upgrade, which will address more areas of the car. It will be much more apparent — it’s what somebody may call kind of a B-spec car. And then we expect to have a further round of upgrades in the second part of the season after the shutdown.

“So we have three main steps: Baku, later on — I don’t want to commit to any date, but before (summer) shutdown — and then after shutdown. We hope that each of them will be able to provide a few tenths of a second, so that we put ourselves in a more realistic position to meet our ambition to become a top-four car towards the end of the season.

“The model — which I prefer to call rather than structure — changes, affect the delivery of performance, because it will accelerate the development rate. And I think that we will see the impact already — not in Baku, obviously, because what comes in Baku was released in design like two months ago. But it definitely will impact the next round of updates.”

While McLaren has previously had a three-person technical leadership team, Stella says there are no similarities to the way the new model is organized as it looks to address clear weaknesses in the way the team was working.

“I think there were some limitations, somehow associated with the model. Like in aerodynamics, we wanted to have a technical director that leads aerodynamics, full empowerment to this technical director. We wanted to unleash very strong resources that we had internally, and that for some reason was under-utilized, like Peter Prodromou, the most competent, expert, person in Formula 1 in relation to aerodynamics, and this wasn’t happening as efficiently as it should have happened, let’s say.

“This is something that we wanted to fix and it perfectly fit the model at the same time by giving aerodynamics clear leadership, clear guidance to the concepts that we wanted to develop and lead to the car. So that’s part of the things that we wanted to improve.

“Part of the model as well was the approach to performance. We wanted to improve in terms of definitely being strongly scientifically based, but at the same time, Formula 1 is a quick game, fast — you need to be sometimes pragmatic, utilize common sense. I don’t think we were very good at doing that previously.

“Another thing we wanted to improve is empowerment. We have senior members in aerodynamics, senior members in the technical department. These guys, they need to unleash their expertise. They need to be able to make decisions, this makes the whole team move faster, and this is also something that we needed to address from a model point of view, and in particular to the restructure and the reappointment of leaders.”