McLaren MCL60 has first run on-track in Bahrain

2023 F1 season

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McLaren have run their new MCL60 on track for the first time, two days before the start of Formula 1’s official pre-season test.

The team launched its new car at the McLaren Technology Centre last week, and shared footage on social media of Lando Norris leaving the pits in the MCL60 today.

McLaren are running at the Bahrain International Circuit, where three days of testing will begin on Thursday.

The team is conducting a filming day at the track, which allows them to complete up to 100 kilometres of running. That equates to 18 laps at the venue of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, and the track time is expected to be shared between Norris and new team mate Oscar Piastri.

New McLaren team principal Andrea Stella said at the team’s launch that they are already planning a significant update to the MCL60 soon after the season begins.

“Assessing our performance last year and looking at competitors, we identified multiple areas of opportunities. The good news is that pretty much all of them have been addressed.

“I wouldn’t want to be too specific, but they have to do predominantly with aerodynamics. Aerodynamics is the name of the game in F1 so no mystery. But there’s some more areas, for instance, in terms of interaction with the tyres, there’s some work that we needed to do and this was done over the weekend.

“There’s some other areas of the car that, like I said, will be influenced by developments in the early stage of the season. So we are happy, not entirely happy, for what is the launch car but optimistic that we should take a good step soon.”

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McLaren MCL60, Bahrain International Circuit, 2023
McLaren MCL60, Bahrain International Circuit, 2023

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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4 comments on “McLaren MCL60 has first run on-track in Bahrain”

  1. Oh I so hope they sort out that old banger this year

  2. The only thing that makes me wary is what McLaren said about the serious upgrades they had coming at the beginning of the season, because they’d identified quite a few things they could do to improve the 60’s Aero.

    It means that they looked at the launch video’s and saw lots of great idea’s on the other cars – I really hope they get this right, because I remember one of the first lessons I learned as an Engineer is that you change one item at a time because otherwise you won’t see what each upgrade does on it’s own.

    I hope they have enough wind tunnel test time left to evaluate all these great idea’s, otherwise it could be just a ginormous “cross your fingers and hope for the best.

    Either way it goes, I will always be a McLaren fan until I ‘pop my clogs’ and maybe even after that – who knows – Keep the Faith guys.

  3. They may not be looking at other cars. It may be that they just ran out of time to fully evaluate the new parts in order to have them running in the first couple of races. They also may want to check that the real life car and the simulations are close enough to trust that the new upgrades will work. After last years disastrous testing, I am sure they feel getting a car running well and reliably is far more important than bolting on upgrades early.

  4. The launch-car was remarkably similar to the last iteration of the ’22 car, and I haven’t seen enough of this running one yet to tell if it’s any different. But I would expect McLaren to have done something during the winter. What I can see though, is that they are blurring out the floor edges in all their footage of this shakedown, just to save their secrets a couple more days. I hope they do well.

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