Stella: McLaren upgrades performing 'in line with expectations'


McLaren team boss Andrea Stella says the upgrades introduced in Austria have so far yielded a result "in line with expectations" and represent a good platform from which to move forward.

The Woking-based outfit rolled out the first of its three-stage update programme that will continue to unfold at Silverstone next weekend and in Hungary thereafter.

The wholesale changes to McLaren's MCL60 have been heralded as "a milestone" that will hopefully turn around the team's season.

At the Red Bull Ring, the team's new-spec car featured revised sidepod inlets, a new floor and a modified coke/engine cover.

So far, the modifications have been put to good use by Lando Norris, the sole recipient of the changes, who qualified fourth on Friday for Sunday's race.

However, Stella wasn't getting carried away by the performance.

"It's Austria and lap times are quite compact," he said while commenting Norris' lap times.

"If we see the lap time that was deleted of Oscar in Q2 it's actually not too far from Lando, just a few tenths. This is pretty much in line with what we expected from the package.

"For me the most important thing is that we measured what we expected, which means that the development works, and this is a good platform for the next developments that will come.

"Independently of the result, which is obviously a bit bittersweet today, because Oscar should have been in Q3, the most important thing is the foundation, which seems to be good for the future."


Stella made clear that the real validation of McLaren's development work will come on race day this weekend and at other upcoming tracks.

"I'm a little prudent because Austria is a track a little bit like Barcelona," he said. "We were P3 in Barcelona. Obviously the gap was bigger, here I think we are more competitive, looking at the gaps.

"Austria, positive indications, but it needs to be confirmed in other tracks. Austria with the big braking and the high-speed is another one that suits us, and there was no sun again."

Stella said the team had purposefully brought to Austria only one update package in its crates because of this weekend's Sprint race and the risks associated with the format as well as the track's reputation for inflicting floor damage to cars.

"It's just what we were in condition to realise,” he said. “We could have gone with two cars, but especially in Austria as we know is the attrition is high, as we have proven."

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