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McLaren planning "B-spec" upgrade before F1 summer break

McLaren is planning a "kind of B-spec upgrade" to its 2023 Formula 1 car, which will arrive before the summer break as the second of three major upgrades.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60, Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60

McLaren started the 2023 season with a draggy car after taking the wrong direction in floor development last winter.

In a tight midfield the team is yet to score point, although its regression in performance has been compounded by reliability issues and on-track incidents.

Having realised even before the season kicked off in Bahrain that it would start the year on the backfoot, the Woking-based team changed course with a first upgrade planned for the fourth race in Baku, which will feature a different floor design.

But team boss Andrea Stella revealed its Baku update is just the first of three major upgrade packages, with a second update coming before the summer break amounting to "a kind of B-spec".

"In terms of development [the Baku package] just the first step," Stella said.

"We would expect definitely another major upgrade, which will interest more areas of the car and be much more apparent. That is what somebody may call like 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 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."

Andrea Stella, Team Principal, McLaren

Andrea Stella, Team Principal, McLaren

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Earlier this month McLaren announced a complete reorganisation of its technical leadership structure, with technical director James Key replaced by three different tech directors each with their own remit.

It signed David Sanchez from Ferrari as its head of car concept and performance, who will join at the start of 2024 after completing his gardening leave.

The team's prominent aero expert Peter Prodromou moves into the role of technical director of aerodynamics and Neil Houldey is promoted into the new role of technical director of engineering and design.

In addition to Sanchez, the team has been headhunting more staff from its rivals, including Aston Martin's Mariano Alperin.

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While the Baku spec was already signed off before the reshuffle was carried out, Stella thinks the team's "B-spec" MCL60 will already benefit from the changes.

"The [new leadership] model affects this delivery of performance because it will accelerate the development rate," he explained.

"We will see the impact not in Baku, obviously, because what comes in Baku was released in design like two months ago. But definitely it will impact the next round of upgrades."

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