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Stella McLaren

McLaren ready to grab the bull by the horns with ‘targets’ set for 2024

Andrea Stella, Team Principle at McLaren, has said they are already underway working on their 2024 entry to ensure the squeeze is put on current world champions Red Bull

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McLaren’s 2023 season has been filled with ups and downs with the team emerging as the most consistent challenger to Red Bull Racing’s dominance. However, McLaren have now acknowledged the need for further refinement to truly mirror and exceed the gold standard set by the Red Bull squad.

McLaren F1
Lando Norris leads Oscar Piastri during the Sprint ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of United States at Circuit of The Americas. (Photo by Clive Mason – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
McLaren’s team principle’s insight

McLaren’s 2023 season has been one of improvement after improvement. The team struggled significantly at the beginning of the year but have managed to turn things around, especially recently after they scored five podiums in the last six races.

But now, Andrea Stella, McLaren’s Team Principal, has shared his thoughts on the future during the Sao Paulo Grand Prix. Stella honed in on the fact the McLaren’s tyre management is one significant differentiator between McLaren and the 2023 World Champions, Red Bull. Stella highlighted Red Bull’s masterful ability to handle tyre degradation race to race, emphasizing the significance of this aspect.

While McLaren has begun focusing on the development of its 2024 design, Stella made it apparent that the progress required to narrow the gap extends far beyond aerodynamics, downforce and tyre management. The Team Principal said when speaking to

“We have set some targets, let’s say, but I can’t say in which area and how. But what I can say is that it’s not only aero.”

When further pressed about the contribution of aerodynamics alongside the tyre degradation issue, Stella acknowledged it to be an amalgamation of both aerodynamics and mechanical factors. “It’s a combination of both. I can’t say much more than that.”

Sprint winner Oscar Piastri, 2nd placed Max Verstappen and third placed Lando Norris with their trophies and Stefano Domenicali and Mohammed ben Sulayem, after the Sprint ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Qatar. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Hard and fast out the gates

McLaren anticipates a likely different landscape at the front of the grid for 2024, given that competitors Mercedes and Ferrari, are planning radical overhauls for the 2024 season.

That aside, Stella firmly believes McLaren is well-situated for a strong push during the winter, thanks to the competitive foundation they have built throughout the current season. He said:

“In fairness, where you are with next year’s car partly depends on where you are this year because that’s the starting point pretty much for everyone.”

A crucial factor in McLaren’s current form is that their success was achieved with a car that, in its launch specification at the start of the season, did not align entirely with the team’s preferences. Hence the results showed that further development was needed.

Stella went on to explain that while some elements of their 2023 entry, the MCL60, were retained from launch, there were considerable overhauls implemented throughout the 2023 campaign, particularly in the floor, bodywork, rear wing, and to an extent, the front wing.

“The car we launched in March, there are some elements that have been developed with continuity, but most of it has been developed in discontinuity.

“Especially when it came to the floor, bodywork, rear wing, and some extent the front wing. We just needed to kind of go into different concepts and start to get them to work. It wasn’t just a linear iterative development of the starting concept of the launch car.”

Now with only two rounds left of the 2023 season, McLaren are currently fourth in the championship. Aston Martin aren’t to far behind but the question remains will McLaren be able to outscore their rivals in Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi.

Headline image: GettyImages

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