In fact, the MCL-60’s advantage in some of the fastest corners at Silverstone last weekend was such that Lewis Hamilton called it a “rocket” because he was powerless to challenge it.
A first package of updates appeared at the Austrian Grand Prix followed by a second stop in Britain, which included a new front wing. These combined to help Lando Norris secure a front row grid spot and take second place in the race.
While some rivals have suggested McLaren’s tweaks are just a copy of Red Bull, such a simplification of the work done is unfair, as a deep dive into the changes makes it clear just how much of its own effort has gone into looking for improvements. .
The exclusive side-by-side comparison above shows just how significant the revisions are, as we dig into the fine details and see what’s been improved.
1. Changes have been made to the shape and position of the ground fences to adapt them to downstream changes.
2. McLaren had previously flirted with a sidepod entry design similar to that used by Red Bull since last season, but its latest update has resulted in a design that looks even more like its rival. The upper leading edge of the inlet has been moved back, while the lower lip is now positioned higher on the chassis, increasing the size of the undercut underneath.
3. The top surface of the floor already had a heavily profiled blister to accommodate the lower SIS, while also creating the pocket of space needed for the subfloor as well. The blister was re-profiled as part of the update and came with a smaller blister on the inside as well.
4. Changes to the forward pontoon and entry required the mirror housing and its associated fittings to be redesigned, with the top slat removed and a revised outer stay used to better suit the required airfoil downstream.
5. The aerodynamic fairing that surrounds the halo now features a vertical blade as the rear strut transitions into the rear bodywork, while a winglet is now also mounted on the side of the structure.
6. The overall change in the shape of the sidepods resulted in the removal of the crimp line on the side of the body.
7. McLaren is the latest team to adopt a deeper slide-style gully on the top surface of the sidepod, following in the footsteps of Aston Martin which took a more aggressive approach to the design architecture first used by Alpine. The sidewall height of the pontoon has also been increased to maximize the internal gully layout.
8. The upper cooling gill panel has been moved from the transverse position to a position more commonly used by rivals, as it wraps around the shoulder of the stretched engine cover. Different configurations of cooling panels will be used by the team depending on the requirements of the given circuit.
9. The shape of the engine cover “shelf” has been optimized to accommodate the relocation of the cooling panel, while taking into account the modifications made downstream.
10. One of the big visual changes to the floor of the MCL60 is to the floor edge, where the cutout and flap configuration previously used by the team has been removed.
11. The footprint of the engine cover and rear cooling outlet has been reduced, which also allows the size of the shark fin to be increased, as the bodywork around it tapers rapidly towards the rear.
Modification of the front fender
McLaren MCL60 new front wing, British GP
Photo by: Giorgio Piola
Norris has been ahead of team-mate Oscar Piastri with the upgrades so far, and at the British GP that meant he also had to use a revised front wing.
The main feature of the front wing refresh is one we’ve seen elsewhere, as McLaren joined Mercedes in using a semi-detached flap layout.
This results in the top three flaps being disconnected from the endplate junction and a small metal spar used to bridge the gap between each element and the endplate.
It is also clear that the tips face outward, as the designers seek to use the surfaces as a way to control the washout generated by the kite. This works in tandem with the other control surfaces, such as the now modified endplate, dive plane, and slot space divider mounts.
McLaren MCL60 front wing comparison
Photo by: Uncredited
It’s not just the outer part of the wing that has been changed either, as we can see by comparing Oscar Piastri’s old specification MCL60 with Lando Norris’ new car-fitted design.
There is a clear deviation in the design of the non-moving sections of the wing next to the nose, which sees the nose tip placed a little further back from the leading edge of the second element and leads to the shape of the panel of vanity a little differently for before.
This has a ripple effect on the position of the flap pivot and its relationship to the associated slot spacer separator, which also results in a redesign of the moving sections of the top two flaps.