McLaren explain “fully revised” floor and other upgrades on Norris’ car in Austria

2023 Austrian Grand Prix

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McLaren previously announced they would bring a lot of new parts to their MCL60 in Austria. Sure enough, the Woking team has brought the largest update of any team this weekend.

However, only one of their two cars will carry them. That will belong to their more experienced driver, Lando Norris.

The most important change to Norris’s McLaren for this weekend is the car’s floor, which McLaren have described as being “fully revised” for Austria. It has revised fences, edge and diffuser shape, designed to increase aerodynamic load and thus create more downforce through corners.

This revised floor only works due to reshaped sidepods on the McLaren, with the ‘Coke bottle’ shape of the side of the car being re-profiled to better channel air under the car to the floor and generate the increased downforce that the new floor shape is intended to make. The car’s halo – a compulsory safety device that offers vital protection for drivers but which naturally interrupts airflow – also has new fairings and other modifications to direct the air over the top of the car more beneficially.

McLaren have also introduced new sidepod inlets and redesigned the car’s mirrors to further complement the more major changes to the car’s aerodynamic profile. While small, these minor modifications are what will likely make the difference at the end of the long straights around the Red Bull Ring in terms of drag, giving McLaren the improved top speed they seek.

Finally, reliability has been addressed by McLaren modifying their cooling louvres over their car – a change they have been forced to make due to the change in airflow created by their other updates. This is intended to ensure enough air continues to be pulled into the louvres to cool the internal elements of the car that can run extremely hot without being cooled through ambient air.

Norris says that the lack of practice time – with just a single session all weekend – will limit McLaren’s opportunity to gather data on their raft of new parts.

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“It’s not the easiest of weekends to put everything on and understand and maximise,” he said.

“I doubt we’ll maximise everything just in FP1 and understand everything and I’m sure there will be a lot of learnings already for Silverstone. Or things that we learn say through qualifying and the sprint race that we’re like ‘we kind of wish we did this’. But it’s about just doing the best job we can.”

McLaren intends to roll out further upgrades for the car over the next two races. Norris expects they will therefore be able to draw conclusions on how successfully the full package of changes has worked by the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of next month.

“I think we should get a decent enough read here,” he said. “But as a combination of things and making sure everything kind of goes together, I would say that’s probably our first time we’ll be able to see everything working together.

“It depends, Spa is also quite like low-downforce, here is quite high. So there’s also a lot of other things in the works which change that. But we should get good enough reads every weekend separately.

“You would rather have everything all together, you just can’t. But everything that we add to it should make a difference.”

Alongside McLaren, five other teams have brought new parts to the Red Bull Ring for this weekend: Red Bull, Ferrari, Haas, AlphaTauri and Williams. That means that Mercedes, Alpine, Alfa Romeo and Aston Martin will not have any new parts on their cars for round nine of the championship.

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2023 Austrian Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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