The first results that got a lot of attention were the second and third places on the grid of the British GP, stage ten. McLaren still lost outright and they lost (and still lose) a lot in the low-speed corners, but they were, almost immediately, as fast as Red Bull in the high-speed corners. This was confirmed in the last stage, in Japan, when Norris and Piastri shared the podium with Max Verstappen.
McLaren wasted no time in getting inspiration from Red Bull
The motivation is clear. While teams like Ferrari and Mercedes insisted on different concepts to those that Red Bull presented in the first year of the current F1 rules, in 2022, McLaren was clearly inspired by the current two-time world champions. Today, technically speaking, no car resembles Red Bull more than McLaren. And these changes, which began to be made in 2022, can bear good fruits in the future.
This is because the Woking team focused very early on trying to understand how Red Bull managed to keep the car’s height stable and at the same time very close to the ground, the key to making this current generation of cars work. Of course this is not easy, it has to do with the set of decisions they made on the mechanical side and on the aerodynamic side. And you can’t just copy it, you have to understand it.
And it seems that McLaren understands, as the car has been changing with everything they’ve added since the update started in Austria. At Suzuka, team boss Andrea Stella explained what four points were modified in the 2023 season from an aerodynamic point of view that changed the performance of the car.