McLaren was braced for a troublesome triple-header with races in Texas, Mexico and Brazil on three circuits that it feared would expose its slow-speed weak point and never cater to its high-downforce prowess.
However the staff’s real pessimism proved unfounded because it scored one other podium with Lando Norris on the US Grand Prix, and the Briton produced a stellar drive to maneuver up from seventeenth to fifth in Mexico, his race tempo simply being ok for a podium.
When quizzed by Motorsport.com/Autosport after the Mexico race on McLaren’s curious kind curve, staff principal Andrea Stella admitted his staff’s sturdy race tempo on theoretically weaker circuits nonetheless must be correctly understood.
However he did provide a principle of why the MCL60 carried out higher by Mexico’s many low-speed corners.
“I would not have anticipated to be half a second behind [in qualifying] and I wasn’t anticipating to be so aggressive [in the race], so I believe there is a bit of research to do,” Stella stated.
“It is a sample that we must put collectively like a little bit of a jigsaw.
“The opposite ingredient that’s fairly peculiar right here in Mexico is that in low velocity, you should utilize experience heights that usually you’ll be able to’t use in some other circuit, simply because you’ll be able to arrange the automobile fairly low. So in a means, we mitigate a few of our sensitivities.
Photograph by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60
“However truly, what occurred [on Saturday], we began to endure in excessive velocity, Lando misplaced the automobile in excessive velocity. We’ll must analyse this sample as a result of it is not an easy interpretation.
“Translating the Italian means of claiming, I’ll say our blanket is just a little brief. So if we centre the automobile for medium velocity and low velocity, then now we have another points in excessive velocity. There’s lots of compromise.
“The work we’re endeavor for subsequent yr is to make this blanket fairly a bit longer.”
Whereas McLaren’s race tempo was surprisingly sturdy, it did take a step backwards in qualifying in Mexico.
At its favoured Losail circuit in Qatar, Oscar Piastri and Norris certified first and second for the dash, and Norris additionally certified on the entrance two rows in Austin.
In Mexico, Piastri certified half a second from pole in seventh, whereas Norris was knocked out in Q1 after failing to set a aggressive lap.
McLaren’s knife-edge automobile behaviour over a single lap may very well be the unintended side-effect of the upgrades it has introduced since Singapore.
“It is a working speculation that we have to examine in a rigorous means,” Stella contemplated. “Curiously, with the brand new automobile it looks as if now we have gained when it comes to race tempo and if something, the scenario has grow to be just a little extra tough for qualifying, so this is a component we have to perceive as properly.
Photograph by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images
Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60
“Even with Lando we simply wanted to place collectively a very clear lap and the automobile was inconsistent and form of stunned him, and we misplaced the lap.
“So, there is a bit of labor we have to do in understanding why the automobile appears to have degraded when it comes to predictability in qualifying circumstances, but it surely seems extra aggressive within the race.”
McLaren’s shock performances over the previous two weeks have given Stella hope that Norris and Piastri can struggle for podiums once more in Brazil regardless of the Interlagos circuit’s many low-speed corners, which was virtually unthinkable earlier within the yr.
“Earlier than this triple-header, I’d have stated Brazil is troublesome,” he added.
“However having seen what we will do within the race in Austin and Mexico, I am just a little extra optimistic that if we put the weekend collectively, we might be there preventing for podiums.”