Andrea Stella reveals McLaren performance gains on 2024 car

17 Jan, 2024

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella reveals his team is very pleased with their 2024 winter development. However, caution is still advised before reaching any dramatic conclusions about their position in the pecking order.

The British outfit was a resurgent force last season, making an unprecedented mid-season jump. After spending the first few rounds scrapping for points, McLaren F1 established themselves as regular podium finishers post-Austria.

Their upgrade package clawed the gap to Ferrari, Mercedes and Aston Martin – whose development curves were all far less dramatic. With that said, there are still questions surrounding Stella’s team heading into 2024.

Most obviously, it is unclear if McLaren can carry their momentum into a new season. Their rate of progression last season was outstanding, but some have hypothesised their trajectory might decline.

After all, part of their 2023 success was thanks to the stagnation of rival teams. Although performance in Formula 1 is always relative, it seems likely that McLaren will face stronger opposition this season.

However, another train of thought would dismiss this pessimism. The Papaya squad’s slow start last year gave them plenty of work to do, but their strong finish puts them firmly within striking range.

Andrea Stella (ITA) McLaren Team Principal in the FIA Press Conference.
21.07.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian Grand Prix, Budapest, Hungary, Practice Day.
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Speaking after the MCL38 livery launch, Andrea Stella provided some details:

“So far, I have to say we don’t see diminishing returns,” he told motorsport.com.

“This obviously will have to be proven once we put the car on the ground.

“But when it comes to the wind tunnel development… we see the gradient we established last year – that led to the Austria development and then the Singapore development.

“It seems like we can maintain it.

“So that’s also where I would expect the launch car to be at the start of the season.”

Oscar Piastri (AUS) McLaren MCL60 and George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14 battle for position.
07.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 18, Qatar Grand Prix, Doha, Qatar, Sprint Day.
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Transparency has been an integral aspect of Stella’s leadership at McLaren. Less than twelve months ago, the Italian engineer admitted that the team failed to reach its winter targets.

However, he assured that mid-season development would correct this situation. In almost prophetic fashion, these statements both materialised during the season.

Although McLaren can never be certain of their rivals’ progress (nor is there a 100% guarantee that CFD figures translate on track), there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic.

Bahrain testing in February could provide the first concrete indications of the team’s 2024 progress.

Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang

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