McLaren CEO Zak Brown has admitted that his team has failed to hit development goals it set for the MCL60 car.
The Woking-based squad has had a difficult pre-season test thus far, with various issues cropping up with the car during the first two days.
Brown has labelled these gremlins as “usual testing bugs” but admits that there are deeper issues regarding the pace of its challenger.
Brown’s comments reflect the message that team boss Andrea Stella provided at the launch of the MCL60, as he confirmed that the team wasn’t entirely happy with the current specification.
While Brown says that the full nature of McLaren’s situation won’t be clear until the season gets underway, he says that it is looking to in-season developments to boost its pace.
“It’s hard to know [where we are] until we get going,” Brown said. “We already set some goals for development, which we didn’t hit.
“We felt it was better to be honest about that. Like everyone we have a lot of development coming so we are encouraged by what we see around the corner.
“I think we will be going into the first race off our projected targets and it’s hard to know exactly that means we will be on the grid.
“Ultimately you have your data engineers who will tell you at the end of the test what they think the pecking order is.
“That being said, you can’t control what anyone does but yourself, so to spend too much time thinking about what the grid looks like… really you need to spend all your time on your own team as that’s the only thing you can control.”
McLaren ended the 2022 season fifth in the Constructors’ Championship, losing out to rivals Alpine who finished fourth.
A slightly revised driver line-up has seen Oscar Piastri join in place of Daniel Ricciardo, who has returned to Red Bull in a third driver role.
Despite its concerns over car pace at this stage, Brown says that McLaren is hopeful it will end the season inside the top four.
“We want to be in the top four by the end of the year,” he said. “Last year was a bit disappointing.
“Our aspirations are to get back to the front. That will take a little bit more time, we’ve got all the technology and infustructure that’s either in or going to be completed this year, so that’s exciting.
“We have some developments coming but so does every other team in Formula One so we have to pick up the pace.”