INSIGHT: Why McLaren is right to be worried about 2023
, 2023-03-02 02:00:00,
This was always going to be a transitional year for McLaren. Its investment in major infrastructure projects such as a new state-of-the-art windtunnel and driver-in-loop simulator at its Woking base, which were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, won’t truly start paying off until 2024 and beyond. But while that will significantly increase McLaren’s potential, there are concerning signs that it hasn’t reached the level it needs to in its current form as a jumping off point.
While pre-season testing is always inconclusive, it’s clear things haven’t gone as hoped for McLaren. While Aston Martin looks to be snapping at the heels of at least the lower reaches of F1’s big three, and even below-the-radar Alpine looks to have made gains, McLaren has gone backwards. Having finished third, then fourth, then fifth in the constructors’ championship over the previous three seasons, it could be even worse off this year.
There is potential light at the end of the tunnel and the target is still fourth, but first it’s important to establish that it genuinely is on the back foot. At the launch of the McLaren MCL60, named to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the team by eponymous founder Bruce McLaren, the tone was downbeat. That continued at testing, with a car that looked somewhat limited, but not terrible, on track and hardly set the world alight in terms of pace. At best, it looked like perhaps the eighth-quickest car. Although things could be…
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