Off-throttle and off-brake are McLaren's weak spots

The team has identified the areas that need to be addressed in order to ensure that the car is competitive in different conditions, particularly in areas where grip levels are low.

McLaren has provided an explanation regarding the weaknesses that have been exposed in their Formula 1 car due to low-grip conditions at the Miami Grand Prix and the challenging 'castle section' of the Azerbaijan circuit.


A 17th and 19th-place finish in Miami, according to team manager Andrea Stella, is a "reality check" despite Lando Norris' floor damage and Oscar Piastri's brake-by-wire failure. During the race weekend in Florida, the speed of each team was measured using the 'super times' metric. This metric compares the fastest lap set by each team during the entire weekend. According to this metric, McLaren was listed as the slowest among the 10 entries with a score of 1.82%.

The reason for the disappointing performance has been attributed to the resurfaced asphalt, which lacks grip. Additionally, the fifth-place finish in the super times during the previous round in Baku could be due to losing out in the low-grip castle section. Stella, a former race engineer, claims that these regions emphasize the MCL60 vehicle's shortcomings when it comes to off-throttle and off-brake conditions.

The Italian driver explained the situation by saying that our car is starting to follow a trend where it gains competitiveness with greater grip. This pattern appears to be related to the fact that drivers spend more time off the brakes and the throttle when there is less grip. Unfortunately, our car struggles to handle these conditions.

During low temperatures, both the track temperature and ambient temperature, the car performed better. As a result, the drivers were able to drive more aggressively. By implementing an attacking braking technique, the mid-corner phase where you release the brakes and throttle is minimized, leading to an instant improvement in competitiveness.


If we take Baku as an example, this year's new Tarmac surface provided excellent grip, and we were competitive in all the areas where you could apply heavy braking, such as turns 1 and 2. A very brief period of braking and throttle release. Stella highlighted the importance of McLaren identifying and comprehending the trend of underperformance in the castle section, where rolling is required, even in Baku. This would enable the revamped technical department to implement in-season advancements and eradicate the issue.

"It's crucial to understand this tendency because it influences development in some way," he concluded. We were aware that the Baku improvement, which involved modifying the floor, added considerable downforce, but we left the car's characteristics mostly untouched.

Therefore, I'm not too surprised that we lose relative competitiveness in these low grip conditions when we spend a lot of time off the brakes and off the throttle. The team could compensate for the limited CFD and wind tunnel limits, according to Stella, by putting a lot of effort into finding a remedy once the problem had been recognized.

We can see that the car has great straight-line braking, he continued. The car is robust in sections where the speed is great, as can be seen. "You can direct and center your development, which is an advantage... We are discovering from these early races that we need to concentrate even more when we are in this situation: off the brakes, off the throttle, and toward low speed.