McLaren urged to 'pick up the pace' as MCL60 misses development goals

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McLaren CEO Zak Brown has urged his team to "pick up the pace" after admitting their MCL60 car has missed some development goals.

The Woking-based team struck a pessimistic tone at their launch earlier this month, revealing they expect a slow start to the season until upgrades are introduced around the Azerbaijan Grand Prix at the end of April.

And their performance so far during pre-season testing appears to have backed up McLaren's concerns with the car struggling on the straights and looking much harder to drive to some of their midfield rivals. 

"We know we set some goals for development which we didn’t hit and we felt it was better to be honest about that," Brown said on Friday.

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"We, like everyone, have a lot of development coming, so we are encouraged [by] what we see around the corner.

"But I think we will be going into the first race off of our projected targets and it’s hard to really know where that means we’ll be on the grid."

Though there have been some niggly issues, notably with the front wheel fairing, McLaren has at least enjoyed a smoother test than last year which put the team on the back foot early in the season.

"Last year with our brake issue it stopped the development of some other items we were working on to make sure we fixed the problem," Brown recalled.

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"Then we came into Bahrain sub-optimal from a performance standpoint, just to make sure we got through the race.

"I’m very proud about how quickly the team did react because we had about a week to solve a problem. But I think that did hurt us at the start of the year so it’s important that we have a normal test session to start the season."

Do that, and the American remains confident McLaren can work their way back towards the front of the midfield as the 2023 season progresses.

"We want to be in the top four by the end of the year. Last year was a bit disappointing," he said. "Our aspirations are to get back to the front. We know that will take a little bit more time.

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"We’ve got all the technology infrastructure either in or going to be pretty much completed this year. So that’s quite exciting, and we have some good developments coming.

"But so does every other single team in Formula 1. So we need do need to pick up the pace."