McLaren team boss Andrea Stella says there are no more “magic” car development plans in place this year to rectify the remaining weaknesses of its MCL60 package.
Having only accrued 17 points in the first eight rounds, McLaren have since become a consistent contender at the front since launching a revised car in Austria in July.
McLaren have regularly provided Red Bull’s closest challenge, enabling the team to recently overhaul Aston Martin for fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
But despite being on a run of four consecutive podium finishes, Lando Norris admitted that the Woking squad’s window to secure a victory this year had likely passed.
The Briton led 27 laps in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix but slipped to third on the road after tyre degradation problems hampered his pace in the closing stages.
Following the introduction of an upgrade package in Singapore last month, Stella outlines that McLaren won’t be bringing any further sizeable updates this season.
Asked if there was a degree of frustration that McLaren missed out on the win in Austin, Stella said: “[It] Is a good point because, to some extent, we have almost have mixed feelings. I mean, we are celebrating a podium here. So at the same time, after the first stint, it looked like we could have enough pace to finally grasp the victory.
“So I would like to reaffirm that we are very happy with the podium. And this is certainly something that everyone after the initial second in which; ‘ahh, shame we didn’t win it,’ I think everyone realises the proportion of our being in a sequence of podiums in this season – thinking where we started from.
“But I you know, I also like this kind of determination whereby, you know, we look for the next step. We are realistic that this season is not like we’re going to have any magic in terms of car development to actually add the lap time or add to the improvement from a tyre degradation point of view that will change things around significantly.
“But we were at the same time not expecting this track to be one in which we were, you know, leading the race for an entire stint and a half. So we look forward to the coming races and hopefully, we can succeed.”
Lewis Hamilton’s disqualification for excessive wear on the plank of his Mercedes car promoted Norris back into second.
Meanwhile, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was hit with the same fate, handing Norris an extra place in the Drivers’ Championship. The 23-year-old now sits sixth overall, 12 points behind ex-McLaren team-mate Carlos Sainz.
Hamilton’s removal from the classification meant Sainz also earned a podium result, softening the points loss Ferrari suffered to McLaren. 80 points separate the former title rivals with only four rounds remaining.