McLaren F1 Preseason 2024

McLaren F1’s Promising Start in 2024 Preseason Tests


McLaren F1 showcased strong potential in Bahrain’s preseason tests, with Piastri and Norris expressing optimism for 2024.

Reflecting the trend across the grid, McLaren F1 clocked numerous laps this Wednesday in Bahrain, marking the opening day of the 2024 Formula 1 preseason tests.

Taking the helm of the MCL38 in the morning, Oscar Piastri, entering his second season at the pinnacle of motorsports, completed a total of 57 laps and recorded the ninth-fastest time of the day (ranking fourth by the mid-session break). The Australian confirmed that everything went smoothly.

“There were no surprises, everything went well, which is good. However, you never truly know what you have until you compare it to the others, so I think we need to wait a bit longer to see where we stand in the hierarchy, but so far, so good.”

Lando Norris took over his new car in the afternoon, completing a total of 73 laps and achieving the second-fastest time of the day, respectfully behind Max Verstappen’s Red Bull. Like his teammate, he is currently refraining from making any premature conclusions about the competitive landscape.

“It’s hard to compare to the others, but the main thing is that I was able to run without any issues and felt immediately comfortable in the car, with no surprises. I was comfortable and managed to push to the limit in some parts of the track, but honestly, there’s not much else to say at this point.”

“Things will definitely be very different when we hit the track for the first race, so we’ll have to wait until then to truly understand how we stack up.”

Norris and Piastri are “optimistic” about challenging Red Bull

Verstappen and Red Bull have made a strong impression with the best time significantly ahead of their rivals and seemingly exemplary reliability, but Norris is not disheartened yet.

“When asked if you can beat Red Bull, you have to say yes. We want to believe we can because we were very close at times last year, and sometimes we even beat them.”

“The question is whether we can beat them over an entire season. I think that will be the most challenging part considering their performance. But I’m optimistic. Is it possible to beat them at times? I’d like to think so, yes.”

“As we progress in the era of a regulation, it usually gets tighter. I believe 2023 was already one of the closest years, from what I recall, in terms of regulation for a long time. Maybe not for the win, but from the second or third place to the back of the grid, there was probably less than half a second. Maybe at the start of the season, the gap will widen, but it’s likely to close as the year goes on.”

Piastri echoes a similar sentiment, also believing that the reigning world champions are not unbeatable.

“One must be optimistic and believe that we can beat Red Bull. As Lando said, we were very close at times last season, even ahead on some occasions. And as Andrea (Stella) mentioned, if we can maintain the same rate of development as last year, then I think we can be very optimistic.”

“I think we need to be aware that we’re not just fighting against Red Bull. We were in a very intense battle with Mercedes and Ferrari towards the end of last season, and in terms of championship points, it was incredibly tight among us. Each team had its successes at different stages, and we need to recognize that we’re not the only ones fighting against Red Bull; the other leading teams are also making progress.”

“Harder work” required to achieve results in 2024

Beyond the performance of their F1 cars, Norris and Piastri also aim to improve personally this season, as excellence is essential in a more competitive field than ever.

The British driver believes that “if you don’t perform the perfect lap, or if you don’t do exactly what’s needed, I think we’ll see that you’ll be less and less able to get away with it, which will force us to make fewer mistakes and work harder.”

“I’ve worked on several points this winter regarding my driving and working style, understanding certain characteristics and testing them on the simulator, trying to improve them.”

“Sometimes it’s hard to improve certain things until you’re in the car, but I’ve tried to work on all the areas I could improve, including the mental aspect. But it’s a different experience until you get back in the car because there are some things you can only try under the pressure of those moments.”

“I’ve done what I could with the team around me, but it’s hard to know, before the first qualifying of the season, how much these things can work and what still needs to be done to improve in all these areas.”

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