McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella says his team are expecting three major upgrades throughout 2023, as they seek to bounce back from a disappointing start to the year.
Along with AlphaTauri, McLaren are one of two teams not to have scored Championship points over the first two races of 2023 and have struggled with reliability, though Oscar Piastri showed the MCL60's potential by making it through into Q3 in Jeddah.
Speaking on the eve of the Australian Grand Prix weekend, Stella said the first major update will come at the fourth race of 2023 in Azerbaijan, which follows a four-week period with no Grands Prix.
"The improvement of car performance should start in Baku," Stella told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"The improvement in Baku should affect an area of the car that, 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 [affect] more areas of the car.
"It will be much more apparent that it is what somebody may call a B-spec."
Stella added that the aim is for the planned updates to vault McLaren up the order to be among the four fastest cars on the grid by the end of 2023.
"We then expect to have a further round of upgrades in the second part of the season after the [summer] shutdown," said Stella.
"So we have three main steps, and 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."
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A new dawn at McLaren
In recent weeks, there has been considerable upheaval at McLaren, with Technical Director James Key leaving his role to be replaced by a three-pronged design team comprising David Sanchez, who is to join from Ferrari, and existing McLaren employees Peter Prodromou and Neil Houldley.
Stella – who himself only took charge as Team Principal over the winter break – said that the structural changes would speed up the rate of development at Woking.
"The [structural changes at McLaren] affect the delivery of performance because it will accelerate the development rate, and I think that we will see the impact already.
"Not in Baku, because what comes in Baku was released in design about two months ago, but it will definitely impact the next [few races]."
Join Balve Baines, RacingNews365.com journalist Michael Butterworth and Dieter Rencken, Editorial Director of RacingNews365.com, to discuss the key talking points ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.