Why McLaren can’t get too carried away yet

The Woking-based team delighted the home crowd with their fantastic performance at Silverstone

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McLaren took their first podium of the 2023 Formula 1 season thanks to Lando Norris at the British Grand Prix, but are they here to stay?

The team had a horrendous start to the season and, at times, looked to be the slowest of all 10 constructors but recent upgrades, mimicking the design of Red Bull’s all-conquering RB19, have changed the game.

Norris soared to second at Silverstone, both in qualifying and the race, and his show-stopping display was backed up by Oscar Piastri’s fourth and Andrea Stella admitted that the gains had to be genuine.

“The indications from the race are quite encouraging,” team principal Stella told the media, including Total-Motorsport.com.

“We were surprised ourselves in the first stint to be able to keep our competitors like Ferrari and Mercedes behind. We thought they would be a problem for us.

“I think we have to acknowledge that the improvement is genuine in terms of race pace however we are at a circuit with high-speed corners and it was also cold conditions.”

The real test

After a week without a race, F1 will head to Hungary next where the track characteristics will be vastly different to that of Silverstone with much more low-to-medium speed corners to negotiate.

The MCL60’s main strength in its latest guise has been efficiency through high-speed corners and on straights which there is little of at the Hungaroring.

Having said that, Norris made his F1 debut at this track in 2017 while Piastri has also had feeder series success here and on a short track, the drivers can make a big difference, especially in qualifying.

Max Verstappen, Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri after qualifying for the 2023 British GP | Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

If McLaren are once again mixing it with Ferrari, Mercedes and Aston Martin in Hungary, then they almost have to be considered as one of the next best behind Red Bull after doing the business on polar-opposite tracks.

Where is the next F1 2023 race?

With the F1 circus finished at Silverstone, we move on to the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix which will be held at the Hungaroring, Budapest over the weekend of July 21-23.

Joe Ellis
Joe Ellis
Motorsport journalist, indyCar correspondent and F1 writer for Total-Motorsport.com
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