Formula 1: Where will McLaren go after massive upgrade?

Lando Norris, McLaren, Formula 1 (Photo by George Hitchens/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Lando Norris, McLaren, Formula 1 (Photo by George Hitchens/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) /

McLaren could turn out to be the headlining Formula 1 team in Azerbaijan as they look to introduce massive upgrades to the MCL60 at Baku City Circuit.

As McLaren prepare to launch a much-improved version of the MCL60 for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday, April 30, they aim to bolt themselves up the midfield order in Formula 1.

The team are well aware that they will not be able to catch the likes of Red Bull, Mercedes, Aston Martin, and most likely Ferrari as well. However, McLaren wish to be in that fight for “the best of the rest” for the second year running.

The start of their season has been tough, especially for Lando Norris and rookie Oscar Piastri. Regulations for this season affected McLaren the most out of any team on the grid. As a result, the MCL60 was introduced on the grid as a much weaker version than initially intended by the team.

McLaren Formula 1 upgrades

The upgrades in Baku will feature major changes to the floor and side pods.

“The improvement in Baku should affect an area of the car that it has been clear that – I think from the presentation of the car – we weren’t entirely happy with in terms of development,” said Andrea Stella, McLaren team principal.

This upgrade follows a personnel change, one which included James Key departing from McLaren. The team have a new trio in charge of further improvements for the car, and there are more major changes expected for the MCL60 as the season gets closer to the summer break. Any improvements will be from the vision of the newly appointed technical trio.

As the team move forward, they will look to keep the momentum going after a good showing in Melbourne. Norris and Piastri both finished in the points, gathering a total of 12 for McLaren to move them to fifth place in the standings. This could be the turning point as they look to take massive strides from Baku onwards.

The goal for the team is definitely to inch closer to Alpine and make it more competitive in the fight for fifth. Despite McLaren currently being fifth, Alpine still have a better car, and as things stand, would overtake McLaren very easily.

Stella will definitely be looking to solidify the team’s current standing and potentially even attempting to leapfrog Ferrari, which appear to have their own struggles this season.

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This upgrade will push McLaren in the right direction after a rough start to the 2023 season. From there, they will continue to move forward and develop the MCL60 to hopefully be capable of fighting for podium finishes.