McLaren team principal Andrea Stella says the new parts the team is bringing to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix might not provide an immediately obvious performance gain.
Stella downplayed the scale of McLaren’s upgrades after the Australian Grand Prix, having previously highlighted Baku as the venue for the first major update of the season. With the team looking to improve on a launch car it was openly unhappy with, Stella says the full impact of the developments is unlikely to be seen during a sprint weekend that features just one practice session.
“We come to Baku following a solid result in Australia, a short period away from track to refocus and with good spirits in the team so we’re ready to go again for the first doubleheader of the season,” Stella said. “While the result in Australia was positive, we know we’ve still got a lot of work to do and this time away from the track has actually been very busy at the factory.
“We also bring some new components to the MCL60. Although, we recognize that in Baku we may not immediately see most of the benefits of these new spec parts, this is just one of many steps in a wider plan to push us forward in the constructors’ championship.
“The team are also looking forward to the first weekend of the new sprint format. At any street circuit, there is always more risk associated with events like this, but the team have prepared well and we look forward to going back to racing.”
With just one session to learn about the new parts on a punishing street circuit, Lando Norris says ensuring a clean start to the weekend will be crucial for the drivers to help McLaren’s understanding.
“I’m looking forward to Baku and to go racing again. It’s been a productive three weeks off with sim work and analysis with my engineers but also taking time to rest and reset ahead of a busy few races.
“I’m also excited that we’re at another street circuit and trying out the new sprint format,” Norris added. “It will be interesting to see how it works and hopefully it will make good viewing for the fans. The track is narrow so it’s as important as ever to be on it as there are lots of opportunities for mistakes. This is even more important as we optimize and learn everything we can about the new parts we’re bringing to the track this weekend.”