McLaren boss tempers hopes for big F1 improvement
April 26, 2023 / 11:25 pm
McLaren appear to be making strides to make the MCL60 more competitive this season, but team boss Andrea Stella has tempered expectations for a quick turnaround.
McLaren scored their first points of the season in the third race in Australia, with Lando Norris scoring eight and hometown rookie Oscar Piastri adding four.
That still leaves the team in fifth place with 12 points in the Constructor Standings, less than half that of fourth-placed Ferrari with 26.
Stella said the MCL60 was not where the team hoped it would be in February, but that progress has continued to be made over the past few weeks as part of a development plan that will take months.
“We come to Baku following a solid result in Australia, a short period away from track to refocus and with good spirits in the team,” Stella said ahead of this week’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix at Baku.
“We know we’ve still got a lot of work to do, and this time away from the track has actually been very busy at the factory.
“Although we recognise that in Baku we may not immediately see most of the benefits of these new spec parts, this is just one of many steps in a wider plan to push us forward in the Constructors’ Championship.”
Baku will be the first test of a significant change to Formula 1’s sprint format. Saturday’s “sprint shootout” will determine the order for the afternoon’s sprint race, which will award eight championship points to the winner.
The Azerbaijan Grand Prix will take place on Sunday.
“I’m also excited that we’re at another street circuit and trying out the new sprint format,” Norris said. “It will be interesting to see how it works and hopefully it will make good viewing for the fans.
“The track is narrow so it’s as important as ever to be on it as there are lots of opportunities for mistakes.
“This is even more important as we optimise and learn everything we can about the new parts we’re bringing to the track this weekend. Let’s get back to it.”
AAP (C) 2023
Oscar Piastri may have to be paient, waiting for big improvements in the McLaren Formula One car. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)