McLaren’s significant upgrade package to its MCL33, set to be introduced in Spain, will center around the car’s all new front wing and nose.

While the Woking-based outfit has enjoyed a step-up in performance this season, mainly thanks to its Renault-powered engine, the team is still racing at a considerable distance from F1’s trio of front-runners.

McLaren fielded an interim car in the first four races of the year, with a more refined and evolved version of the MCL33 set to be unveiled this weekend, and one which will hopefully prove considerably faster in a straight line, McLaren’s weak point so far in 2018.

“There were two working groups over the winter,” said a McLaren source.

“One was tasked with a basic test car for the Renault engine, while the other worked on the actual aerodynamic concept. That had to be held off until the new nose was ready.”

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Indeed, according to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, the most striking feature of the updated car will be its radical front end.

“The most striking detail will be the new nose,” said well-informed correspondent Michael Schmidt.

“The crash test was passed on April 11. Rumour has it that the design is pretty spectacular.

“It’s quite possible that McLaren says goodbye to the stub nose, perhaps doing something similar to Force India and Mercedes.”

Both Fernando Alonso and McLaren racing director Eric Boullier have played down expectations however, as the majority of the field will be introducing updates at the Circuit de Catalunya this week.

“Barcelona is an opportunity to try some new things, see where we are and the direction we will take for the rest of the season,” said Alonso.

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