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McLaren F1's Results Fall Short of Pre-Season Goals

McLaren F1’s Results Fall Short of Pre-Season Goals

20/04/2024

McLaren F1 begins 2024 with top 3 aims but eyes race victories, reflecting ambitious goals.

How distant the start of the 2023 season seems, when McLaren F1 was in real trouble with its car and struggled at the back of the grid. Now, the Woking team is firmly established in the top 3 and aiming even higher.

But have the goals been met so far in 2024? Andrea Stella, the director of the British team, answered this question in China.

“As far as our expectations go, we are pleased to have consolidated the development trajectory we started 12 months ago. I think it was important to be part of the leading group of cars at the start of the season. Being in third place in the standings, for now, is something that satisfies us. But ultimately, we want to fight to win races. And that means we need to, if possible, improve development and make enhancements to the car.”

One might have expected McLaren F1 to be even closer to Red Bull this year given the progress made in the latter part of last season, but Stella doesn’t necessarily see it that way.

“Not necessarily in relation to Red Bull, because I think, as I’ve said before, Red Bull didn’t develop their car much last year, so we expected them to have gained significant insights last season that could have been capitalized with this year’s car. In this sense, we are pleased to have consolidated the gap with Red Bull. But now, we want to try to reduce it as soon as possible. We must recognize that during the winter break, Ferrari may have made a slightly more significant leap forward than ours. It has therefore consolidated itself as the second-best team. And that is certainly something we want to try, to challenge Ferrari in the near future.”

Stella “happy” with parc fermé rule changes

Before the weekend, Lando Norris did not see his MCL38 shining on the Shanghai track. Did the Italian leader share this view?

“The reason for this anticipation is that, so far, statistically, when we look at where we lose time compared to other cars, it’s in low-speed corners, long corners, those over 90 degrees, we tend to lose time compared to the cars around us. Over a lap, we may be faster, but in these types of corners, we lose time. And in China, there are many of these long corners and low-speed corners. So that is why we expected it to be this way from a competitiveness perspective.”

With the rule changes regarding parc fermé this season, one can imagine that the approach to the Sprint weekend has changed, and Stella was keen to praise them.

“The changes to parc fermé are logical; they’re a good step forward in terms of sprint weekend regulations. They give you a bit more leeway to be aggressive, I would say, from the setup perspective, trying to see if there’s the last millimeter you can exploit, for example in terms of ride height, you know you can adjust it after the Sprint. So I’m very happy that we have the opportunity to readjust the performance.”

McLaren F1's Results Fall Short of Pre-Season Goals

McLaren F1’s Results Fall Short of Pre-Season Goals. McLaren F1’s Results Fall Short of Pre-Season Goals.

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