First images of upgraded McLaren emerge ahead of Austria

First images of upgraded McLaren emerge ahead of Austria

The unveiling of a significant upgrade package in Austria, which has echoes of the local heroes, marks the beginning of McLaren’s path toward what they think would be a significantly upgraded MCL60.

McLaren started the F1 2023 season behind plans by their own admission, drifting towards the back of the pack rather than making headway towards the top teams as had been their objective.

However, it is intended that the Austrian Grand Prix will now signify the first step towards catching up to the likes of Alpine, Ferrari, Aston Martin, and Mercedes as the McLaren MCL60 receives its first overhaul on the way to what could ultimately generate something of a B-Spec contender.

McLaren gave observers a first look at their recently-introduced work, which obviously involves a large degree of change around the sidepod area, as preparations for the start of the Austria race weekend beginning on Friday.

The changes have been compared to “a little bit of Aston Martin, a little bit of Red Bull,” the latter of which is not surprising given that this season’s key upgrade packages from Mercedes and Ferrari saw them forgo their distinctive sidepod concepts in favor of solutions more in line with those used by the dominant Red Bull team.

Additionally, McLaren has been hard at work redesigning the MCL60’s floor.

McLaren had intended to introduce them at Silverstone, but they were able to prepare them for Lando Norris in Austria. They will take a chance by putting them on the track during the dangerous Sprint race weekend, which includes just one practice session.

These updates will only be used by Lando Norris in Austria before moving on to the British Grand Prix, which will take place immediately after. This is where they were initially scheduled to be introduced.

The most recent version of the MCL60 will be driven by Norris and Oscar Piastri at Silverstone.

“Some medium-sized upgrades on the car, so hopefully this helps us take a step forward,” Norris told Sky F1. “The team have done a good job. We weren’t going to have these bits here this weekend originally it was only meant to be for Silverstone.

“The team have done a good job to push through as many things as we could, especially being a sprint race, two races to potentially score points, it’s a good thing to try and bring as early as possible.

“The first upgrade of the season that’s really meant to bring performance and make us go quicker.

“It’s been a difficult start, I’m hoping it will be the thing that allows us to fight for some more points a bit easier.”

In the lead-up to the Austria GP race weekend, Norris also mentioned that he has had to work on his patience as a Formula 1 driver. Given that Norris’ name frequently comes up when discussing potential F1 champions in waiting, the Brit could be excused for getting frustrated with the victory scene eluding him.

Norris is currently P11 in the Drivers’ Championship standings going into the Austria round with a total of 12 points.

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