Among the many themes of the weekend in Singapore there is also McLaren, protagonist both on the podium with Lando Norris but also in a good comeback with Oscar Piastri. Both the Englishman and the Australian were the authors of a waiting race rather than an attacking race, making the most of the various opportunities that were created thanks to the pit stops and the different race situations.
On the Asian track, McLaren presented itself with a large package of technical innovations, although it was not fitted to both cars, but only to Norris’s. As already happened previously in Austria and Great Britain, Piastri had only part of the package available, while the rest of the technical innovations will also be fitted on his single-seater during this weekend in Japan. The innovations focused on the endplates of the front wing, on the cooling vents of the radiators in the bellies, on the flow diverters around the halo system and the design of the rear brake ducts, to which specific elements for a high-load race were added like that of Singapore.
According to Andrea Stella, these updates have allowed us to take a step forward and be more competitive, something that would not have happened with the previous package. However, the most encouraging aspect is that there is a correlation between what happens on the track and the references obtained in the factory during the development phase.
McLaren MCL60 upgrade comparison
Photo by: Uncredited
“I think the important thing is that we were able to compete with the best cars in Singapore, which wouldn’t have been possible with the old package. As we have already said, we measure the improvements from an aerodynamic point of view. The most encouraging thing is that the improvements correlate with what the development tools predict. As you can imagine, it’s September, we’re working on development tools and if you work on development tools (like simulator, wind tunnel and the like) for five, six months, you have to be able to trust what you’re doing . Otherwise, if you put the car on the track, then the car does something else, you’ve just wasted energy for nothing,” explained the Team Principal.
It is important to keep in mind that the English team has recently also been carrying out work on a new wind tunnel, currently in the testing phase, as well as those for the renovation of the simulator. Alongside these tools, the team is also reviewing its internal structures, moving departments to speed up the component manufacturing phase and to modernize the machinery.
“This is why engineers focus a lot on the concept of correlation with expectations. So this step is important from a competitiveness point of view. It is important for everyone at McLaren to know that the work we are doing seems to be paying off,” Stella added.
Comparison of McLaren MCL60 side vents
Photo by: Uncredited
“And the efforts, in a certain sense, are capitalized. These are not wasted efforts (thanks to the good results) and I believe they will in turn generate even more motivation and determination. And in the end, if we managed to bring a new package here to Singapore, it is because there were long days of work, nights, and a very complex plan, also in terms of logistics. It was a remarkable effort. I am very happy for the team. Even for people who come from difficult times and when you can enjoy these kinds of results, it’s such a relief and such a joy.”
After Singapore, eyes are already turning towards Suzuka, a circuit which, according to Stella, on paper should be better suited to the characteristics of the MCL60: more fast corners, fewer slow sections, the characteristics that have distinguished the British car during this season . Furthermore, as highlighted by other teams, the asphalt should be smoother, which will allow the car to be lowered. However, the Team Principal also wanted to keep expectations low, remembering that there will also be other elements to take into account.
“On paper, it should be better suited than Singapore, due to the high-speed section and smooth track. These are the two main reasons why it should be more suitable than the Singapore circuit. There are a couple of slightly difficult corners, such as the hairpin and the last chicane. I’m really curious to see how we will behave. They are two very important corners for the lap time. But I would say that the first sector should be suitable for our car. But, from a technical point of view, the absolute level of competitiveness will depend on how we behave at the hairpin and at the chicane.”