McLaren has completed what it calls "a super important" shakedown for its new MCL60 Formula 1 car, amid efforts to keep its design secrets under wraps for now.
Twelve months on from McLaren facing a disastrous test in Bahrain and disappointing opening race after suffering serious brake overheating problems, the squad has made efforts to ensure there is no repeat trouble this time around.
Well aware that there is just a single test before the opening 2023 race at Sakhir, McLaren booked in one of its two filming days for Bahrain on Tuesday to check that its new F1 challenger could run without dramas.
Although limited to a maximum of 100 kilometres for the run, which was also used as a filming day, that was enough to give the team a key indication of whether there were any problems that needed addressing before proper running starts on Thursday.
Speaking after his run, Lando Norris felt the day had been vital for McLaren to ensure it did not start the test on the back foot like last year.
“I think it was a super important day for us, especially because we need to start this season off better than we did last year,” explained the Briton.
“So far we've done exactly that, so I'm happy the team are happy. There's a lot of hard work to make sure we start smoothly, and we start with the reliability, and get everything on top of where it should be. They've done exactly that, so yeah, super important.”
The shakedown filming day also prompted a bit of intrigue as McLaren went to great lengths to ensure that some of the design secrets of its new car were not revealed to rivals just yet.
The video footage and photos of the new MCL60 that were released after the run were carefully framed to ensure that it was not possible to analyse the specific details of the floor edge – which is a critical area for the performance of the current generation of cars.
Furthermore, when the car was filmed in areas of the track where the floor design could have been seen clearly, McLaren deliberately blurred out that area of the car. This is shown in the image below.
McLaren is not the only team to have been shy of showing off too much of its car so far this year, with Red Bull in particular having revealed almost nothing of its new RB19.
The team launched a version of last year's RB18 at its event in New York earlier this month, while the only images of the new RB19 from its shakedown were heavily restricted to offer no specific details of the changes made to its latest car.