[McLaren says F1 car weaknesses remain, despite British GP stunner
Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri secured second and third on the grid for Sunday’s race as they made good use of the latest upgrades.
But nobody at the squad was getting too carried away with things, as there was an acceptance that the high-speed nature of the Silverstone circuit, allied to cooler temperatures, helped play to the strengths of the MCL-60.
And while not wishing to be too downbeat after the encouraging result, the team said that there remained a lot of work to do yet to get the car in a place where the squad could expect its strong form everywhere.
“We have obviously improved the car,” said Norris, who missed out on pole position to Max Verstappen by just two tenths of a second. “The overall speed and performance has just taken a decent step forward.
“But I guess if I was going to be negative, there’s definitely going to be some tracks that we are going to struggle more at. Our weaknesses are still the same, and quite weak.
“So I think we really need to try and tackle them if we want to be able to be here more consistently.”
While McLaren had made progress in addressing the aerodynamic efficiency problems of its launch spec car, it still struggles with car balance, direction change in slow speed corners and a weak rear end – which manifests itself with poor race pace as tyres overheat.
Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60
Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images
McLaren team boss Andrea Stella suggested that the brilliant pace at Silverstone, which followed other promising performances in Spain and Austria, was helped by cooler temperatures and soft tyres helping mask issues with the car.
“There’s definitely a pattern,” said Stella. “High speed corners, cold conditions, soft tyres and, by the way, the same compound: C3. So, we like these conditions, our car likes it.
“The rear end kind of finds naturally some good grip, which we may be missing over continuous laps, or when it’s hotter. So conditions come to our favour.
“But, at the same time, I think, in this result, some contribution is coming from the improvements we’ve made to the car. We measure these improvements in terms of downforce, and we see that in some of the low speed, we are decently competitive now.
“But still, we have a GPS overlays, and we can see that some cars are quicker than us. This just confirms what is our objective in terms of development.”
Regarding McLaren’s race pace, Stella added: “While we have improved the car in terms of aerodynamic efficiency, we haven’t made yet large enough improvements in terms of elements that can condition and can improve the race pace.
“So I would still expect that there’s cars around us that will be quicker in terms of race pace, like Ferrari, and possibly Mercedes as well. We’ll see also Aston Martin, how they do tomorrow. It will depend also, to some extent, on the conditions. Cold conditions should favour us for the same reasons, even in the race.”
Asked how much of McLaren’s main problems have been solved by the upgrade, Norris said: “It’s like 70% not fixed, 30% fixed, just by making the car quicker, adding load and having a better performance.
“I think 70% at the minute is more that if we just had more load, more of it will be covered. But it’s not the whole solution.
“I think days like today prove that we’re not miles away on certain things. It’s just some characteristics and handling, that I would still say we’ve had as an inherent issue over the last five years, that we definitely still struggle with.”