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McLaren MCL33 to get significant update before Melbourne

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McLaren's yet-to-be-unveiled MCL33 is expected to receive its first upgrade right after pre-season testing, on the run-up to the Australian Grand Prix.

Powered by new engine partner Renault, McLaren is prepping its fans for a big livery change but also for a change of fortune.

Expectations and confidence are increasing in the McLaren camp on the eve of a season which will hopefully see the Woking-based team enjoy a massive performance boost after a depressed three-year and fruitless period.

McLaren aero boss Peter Prodromou says the MCL33 won't be much of a departure from last season's car, at least in its initial form, when it hits the track next week.

Before heading Down Under however, the new car should receive a significant update.

"We have tried to develop the car as we have done for the last three years," Prodromou said.

"We've tried to develop it in an evolutionary fashion.

"I think you can expect to see something quite similar conceptually for launch – and then in truth we have spent the last two to three months focusing on a race one upgrade.

"That is where the major focus has been and still is – to try to deliver a decent upgrade both aerodynamically and mechanically and try to put our best foot forward for Melbourne."

"We very much hope and expect that the car will feel from the off quite similar to how it felt at the end of last year and perform quite similarly.

"Hopefully we've taken a step forwards and then we will try to do something a bit more substantial for Melbourne."

Preparations at McLaren have gone according to plan in the past few months, both in-house and with Renault. The next step however will call for the MCL33's validation on the race track, with the team projecting 500km of running per day at the Circuit de Catalunya in the next two weeks.

"500km per day is a plan. That is on the run plan," said McLaren's head of engineering Matt Morris.

"In terms of all the sign off of the car, and running it [the gearbox] on the back of a Renault engine, we should be going into winter testing in as good a state as we can be.

"Even if we had changed engine earlier, we would not have done other things earlier."

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