McLaren planning B-spec style upgrade later this year

Ricciardo tours the Australian outback in the RB7 (1:04)

Daniel Ricciardo drives the 2011 RB7 championship-winning car around the Australian outback. (1:04)

McLaren is planning a major car upgrade before Formula One's summer break, which team principal Andrea Stella says could be compared to a B-spec version of the MCL60.

McLaren failed to score a point at the opening two rounds of the 2023 season after admitting it had failed to hit its aerodynamic targets over the winter.

Last week it announced a reshuffle of its technical leadership, which it had been planning since late last year, with technical director James Key leaving the team.

Although the changes to McLaren's technical department have been made with longer-term goals in mind, Stella is still expecting short-term improvements as the team roles out its upgrade packages this year.

"So the improvement of car performance should start in Baku," Stella said. "The improvement in Baku should affect an area of the car that I think has been clear from the presentation of the car, we weren't entirely happy with in terms of development. It's just the first step.

"We would expect definitely another major upgrade, which will address more areas of the car. It will be much more apparent, it's what somebody may call kind of a B-spec car. And then we expect to have a further round of upgrades in the second part of the season after the [summer] shutdown.

"So we have three main steps: Baku, later on, I don't want to commit to any date, but before shutdown, and then after shutdown. We hope that each of them will be able to provide a few tenths of a second, so that we put ourselves in a more realistic position to meet our ambition to become a top four car towards the end of the season."

Stella is hopeful that the changes to the technical team, which have already taken effect, will help maximise the impact of the upgrades later this year.

"The model, which I prefer to call rather than structure, the model changes will affect the delivery of performance, because it will accelerate the development rate," he said.

"And I think that we will see the impact already not in Baku obviously, because what comes in Baku was released in design like two months ago. But definitely will impact the next round of updates."