McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella has revealed the side has stopped focusing on developing its current car and has turned its attention to working on next year.
After beginning the 2023 campaign on the backfoot amid an admission it had missed development targets on its MCL60 charger, McLaren has enjoyed a resurgence since introducing a raft of upgrades mid-season.
The new parts have enabled the British outfit to compete in the battle for second honours behind the dominant Red Bull team, with Lando Norris scooping successive podiums at the British and Hungarian Grands Prix.
Asked about McLaren’s strategy when it comes to balancing improving this year’s car versus creating a good baseline for next season, Stella said: “So, the focus itself on development has stopped. We are now working on next year’s car. I think this is pretty much what has happened in every team.”
However, the ex-Ferrari race engineer has also disclosed McLaren will continue to bring further pre-planned updates to its car over the remaining rounds of this season.
Stella is hopeful that the remaining modifications to come will allow McLaren to be a regular fixture on the podium rostrum during the latter rounds of the year.
“This doesn’t mean that we won’t have any new part, because actually there’s a time lag between the development at the factory and the delivery of parts trackside,” he added.
“So we will see some new parts coming in the next couple of races. And we hope that by improving our performance, we will be able to consolidate the good results we have had lately, and possibly lean on the podiums once more before the end of the season.”
Although McLaren has established itself as a credible contender for top-three finishes, the Woking-based entry’s arduous opening to the year means it is unlikely to rise above fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
With only eight rounds to go, McLaren are currently 102 points behind Aston Martin, who were leapfrogged by Ferrari in Italy.
But McLaren is unlikely to tumble down the order, having opened up a substantial 42-point advantage over Alpine, whose inconsistent year continued at Monza.
Norris could accompany the three-way battle for fifth position in the Drivers’ Standings between the two Ferrari representatives and George Russell before the end of 2023.
The Briton is 30 points adrift of Russell and was made to lament a missed opportunity at the Dutch Grand Prix that saw him plummet from the front row to the back before recovering to the lower reaches of the points.
Meanwhile, team-mate Oscar Piastri is locked in a tight duel with the Alpine pair, sitting level with Esteban Ocon on 36 points and trailing Pierre Gasly by only one.