The McLaren Formula 1 team is being tipped to endure a difficult start to the 2023 campaign following a challenging pre-season test in Bahrain.
McLaren logged the fewest laps of any team across the three days of running from the Bahrain International Circuit, with several issues popping up during the event.
The Woking-based squad has already acknowledged that it is unhappy with its launch-spec, admitting that it missed development goals with it.
However, it is looking to in-season upgrades, around the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, to boost its form.
Until then, Sky Sports F1 pundit Ted Kravitz believes that McLaren will endure a challenging start to the new campaign.
“I’m afraid to say McLaren are not sandbagging – they do have some issues at the moment,” he wrote in a Sky Sports Q&A.
“Lando will be giving it his all and I wouldn’t for a moment expect that he won’t be able to get some good points finishes because he is an incredible driver, but they are definitely in for a tough start until their new package comes at the fourth race of the season in Azerbaijan.”
F1 introduced a major technical rule change in 2022, with several different concepts produced across the grid.
Kravitz says that it was vitally important that teams began the new era on the right foot as those who were behind last year still appear to be playing catch-up.
“In a sense the second year after a major rule change has divided the grid up into two camps, those that got it right last year when the rule change happened, and those that got it wrong,” he said.
“For those that got it wrong, it’s been even more of a step back, in the sense that you might have taken four paces back to take six forward – so it really underlines how important it was to get it right last year.
“Mercedes haven’t changed concept, but they’re still trying to make their concept work. It’s a different concept than the ones that we’re seeing bear fruit – the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari.
“Aston Martin changed their concept half a season into last year, six races arguably, or two races after they realised their concept wasn’t going to work, and are now starting to bear fruit of that change.
“Alfa Romeo/Sauber, they also changed their concept from last year to this year. It looks okay, but they have still got a bit of time to catch up.
“The other team that changed their concept most notably is McLaren. They saw that something wasn’t going to work if they carried on the route that they had last year.
“They’ve gone back out of it and then down another route, and in that change, as Zak Brown says, have not hit their performance goals for this year.
“But that’s not to say that they’re not going to, and that they’re not going to end up with a quicker car than they would have done had they kept their old concept.
“So I think it’s the right move for McLaren, but it won’t look that way for a while – until they get it sorted.”
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