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McLaren Falls Well Short of Development Goals at F1 Bahrain Test

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The McLaren Formula 1 team was open at its launch that it was not anticipating a sprightly start to 2023, and it echoed such sentiments during the three-day F1 test in Bahrain after running its MCL60 for the first time.

“We already set some goals for development, which we didn’t hit,” said McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown. “We felt it was better to be honest about that. Like everyone, we have a lot of development coming so we are encouraged by what we see around the corner. I think we will be going into the first race off our projected targets and it’s hard to know exactly that means we will be on the grid.”

formula 1 testing in bahrain day two

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has pointed out a few issues for his team to address after a disappointing preseason test in Bahrain.

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The suspicion from rivals is that McLaren is likely to be toward the lower end of a tightly-congested midfield. McLaren feels it has addressed some its wish lists from the 2022-spec MCL36—related to balance and tire usage—but is still lacking overall performance.

“The aerodynamic efficiency of the car—that’s the one [area] where we are still shy of what was our target,” said new team principal Andrea Stella.

McLaren realized too late that it wanted to take a different long-term direction with its MCL60 and “didn’t develop fast enough”, according to Stella, with its launch-spec car. McLaren is optimistic that a sizeable upgrade package, which will deliver the results of that initial realization, will soon be ready, possibly in time for Round 4, in Azerbaijan, at the end of April.

“We have to be aggressive if we want to make our objective of being a top four car over the course of the season,” Stella said, going on to agree that McLaren will have to out-develop its opponents.

“Our objective through the season is to be a top four car. At the moment I would say we are not necessarily in this range.”

McLaren wound up with the fewest laps during testing, completing 312 – nothing to suggest it’s panic stations but it was a way off AlphaTauri’s leading tally of 456.

McLaren is braced for short-term gain in anticipation of brighter times ahead.

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