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Formula 1 Austrian GP

McLaren unleashes full floor revamp in first F1 2023 upgrade push

McLaren has revealed the extent of its Austrian Grand Prix updates that it hopes will finally kickstart its disappointing 2023 Formula 1 season, featuring a fully revised floor and sidepod.

McLaren MCL60 technical detail

McLaren realised even before the season started that it had dropped the ball on its MCL60 concept and changed its floor philosophy for April's Baku round, which set a new development baseline rather than delivering an immediate performance improvement.

The raft of upgrades McLaren is introducing over the three July rounds represents the first true upgrade push for the season, which the Woking squad hopes will push it towards the front of the midfield after scoring just 17 points so far.

The team is spreading its updates out across the Austrian, British and Hungarian rounds, fast-tracking one set of upgrades to the Red Bull Ring on Lando Norris' car.

On Friday the team unveiled its first round of changes, which include a fully redesigned floor, sidepod and engine cover.

McLaren said it brought a "fully revised floor" which "features updated fences, floor edge as well as diffuser shape."

The floor inevitably interacts with the rest of the bodywork, which means McLaren has also redesigned the sidepod and engine cover to improve flow conditioning to the floor and increase aerodynamic load.

It also updated its car's mirrors and halo fairing to further optimise the airflow to the rear of the car. The updated engine cover shape comes with a geometry tweak for its cooling louvres.

McLaren MCL60 technical detail

McLaren MCL60 technical detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

McLaren's primary target is improving its aerodynamic efficiency, and thus its ability to add downforce to the car without incurring an excessive drag penalty.

That lack of efficiency has not only cost it laptime but also hindered Norris' and Piastri's ability to race their rivals due to a lack of top speed.

"What's made our life tough is just the lack of straight-line speed," Norris replied when asked by Motorsport.com about his hopes of being able to put up more of a fight with a more efficient car.

"I think we've been pretty much the slowest on the straights almost the whole year. This is trying to help a bit of that.

"It's probably not going to make the biggest difference, but it's the little things sometimes which add up and can start

"It's a bit of a total haul, so it should be slow speed, medium speed, high speed. Hopefully, I can just be ahead of cars I should be ahead of, or I can maybe follow cars closer."

Norris praised his team for fast-tracking 50 percent of its 'B-spec' update to his car in Austria, ahead of its original Silverstone target, even if Spielberg's sprint format with a single free practice session will make it tough to optimise the upgrade.

"It was all meant to come for Silverstone, so the fact we've got some of it is already going to be a good step forward," Norris said.

"Especially with it being a sprint race and maybe some opportunity to get points twice if we can, if it's enough of a step, which is why we pushed everyone so much and the team were able to deliver on getting some bits earlier.

"This is our first upgrade of the season, really, for performance. We obviously had an upgrade in Baku, but it wasn't a performance deliverer. 

"It feels like it's been a very long time but at the same time, the team has done a good job. 

"We wanted to make sure things were done correctly and done in the right way. So, I want to say I have confidence that it's a decent step."

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