The start to the 2023 season proved to be an uphill battle for McLaren, as 2022 had already been when reliability issues forced the team to face a harsh reality. Similarly, the birth of the MCL60 was not particularly fortunate, given that the team managers had already hinted at the official presentation that the new single-seater had not reached the pre-established development targets.
Over the months, the project had seen several delays and the aerodynamic development had been affected, also thanks to the introduction of the regulation change after the 2022 summer break which would have forced the teams to review some elements of the fund. Changes that have upset the work of all the teams, but which McLaren has suffered more.
The first substantial package of updates should arrive for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, although some changes will already be introduced in the next rounds, between Saudi Arabia and Australia. However, it will be another uphill year, moreover in the celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of the legendary English team.
There probably couldn’t have been a worse way to celebrate such an important event, but if on the one hand you look at a historic past full of successes, the team is already working on its future.
The MCL60 was developed in the Cologne wind tunnel, also used in the past by other teams due to its flexibility and because it is considered among the best in Europe. However, this is an expensive and time-consuming process, because after physically making the new elements for the scale model, they have to be sent to Germany by van, wasting days of work.
Upon his arrival in 2019, former McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl had pushed for the construction of a new wind tunnel and state-of-the-art simulator to keep pace with a competition that had already upgraded its equipment. . However, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic had caused significant delays in both projects, with the latest deadline being moved to the summer of 2023.
Andrea Stella, McLaren Team Principal, at the press conference
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
After a long wait, the new wind tunnel should finally be ready in the coming months. Seidl’s replacement, Andrea Stella, explained that the infrastructure hardware has already been completed and that the actual development work will start in June. As usual, the team will still have to wait for all the calibration work to be completed to ensure the new wind tunnel works as intended.
“We hope to have the car in the wind tunnel, which should be the new car by then, in June,” Stella said in Bahrain of the state of play.
“The wind tunnel is already in operation, but there is a process of calibration, of installing methodologies such as those used to measure pressure, to measure speed, to measure the forces involved. All this takes a few weeks .”
Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60
Photo by: Erik Junius
“Hardware-wise, it exists, the fan works. It’s very cool because I can hear it from my office. And it’s very reassuring (because) we’re making progress, even though (at the moment) we can’t use it yet to test the scale model for the necessary tests.”
“In a new wind tunnel you need to use a reference model in one tunnel and another to see the correlation and repeatability,” Stella added as she explained the process needed to get the new tunnel into operation after hours. comparative tests.
“We are not going to do it with the new model of the car (2024), we want to do it with the old model, so that we can better understand the new wind tunnel and then use the new car (2024).”
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