McLaren pushing to sign off final ‘conceptual evolution’ update for F1 2023 car

McLaren has revealed it is pushing to sign off a ‘conceptual evolution’ upgrade that could be the final major update for its 2023 F1 car.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60, leads George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

Ahead of a landmark moment for the team, as it prepares to put its 2024 car in its new wind tunnel for the first time, the squad still wants to eke out one final effort for its current MCL60.

For beyond bespoke low-drag solutions that will be needed for high-speed tracks like Monza and Las Vegas later this year, team principal Andrea Stella says that there are further improvements to come to help it build on recent podium finishes in Britain and Hungary.

“We are working on an evolution of these concepts for post shutdown,” he said. “There is another kind of round [of changes to] the bodywork and floor.

“We still have to sign this off, and we have a few more days of work, but if we are successful, then we will definitely attempt to bring it in one of the events soon after the shutdown.”

Despite the big step forward that McLaren made with its most recent upgrade, Stella is cautious about building too many expectations for the next step.

Although the recent upgrade delivered more than even McLaren was expecting, he is well aware that the next one may not produce as much as hoped.

“I think we kind of understand what happened with this one, but what we are working on is not only simple millimetres, it is a bit of a conceptual evolution,” he said,

“So, there's a degree of uncertainty with aerodynamic evolutions. And, really, the evidence comes only when you test these kinds of things trackside, because even if you have a good wind tunnel correlation, and good CFD correlation, you're always a little bit on the edge of knowledge. And I think this is the same for every team.”

The final work on the 2023 car comes as McLaren prepares to put a first version of its 2024 challenger in its new wind tunnel at Woking.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

Photo by: Erik Junius

The squad is still weighing up whether that happens this week, or straight after its mandatory summer shutdown period - but it will occur before F1 resumes at Zandvoort later this month.

Stella says that this moment will mark the transition of development towards next year, as the squad will steer clear of bringing its 2023 challenger across from the Toyota facility it has used in recent years.

“We will stop working on the old car as we leave the Toyota wind tunnel,” he said. “We will not run the old car in the new wind tunnel.

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“What we are working on with this year's car, a lot of things are relevant for next year, but this year's model will not be put in the new wind tunnel. The new wind tunnel will only have next year's model.”

While some teams have talked about using ideas they get for their 2024 cars on this year’s challengers, Stella is sceptical about McLaren being able to do that.

“On next year's model, there's not much you can develop that you can apply to this year's car, because things are very interlinked and tangled,” he said.

“It's very difficult to have a solution that works on next year’s car, and then you can apply to this year's car.

“You would certainly consider a test item, to see if it works. But even to prepare a test item, it means that somebody will have to release it, draw it, and produce it in a period in which we are completely flat out on next year. So I see it unlikely.”

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