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McLaren Pinpoints Key Factor in Imola Loss

McLaren Pinpoints Key Factor in Imola Loss

21/05/2024

Andrea Stella highlighted operational execution as the crucial element where McLaren lagged behind Red Bull at Imola, influencing their performance and outcome in Emilia-Romagna.

Stella reflected on Lando Norris’s near victory at Imola. The McLaren F1 team principal explained that operational aspects were where his team fell short against Red Bull in Emilia-Romagna, and this is now what makes the difference.

“Weekend execution is always a key factor,” Stella stated. “I think the top three cars in qualifying were within a tenth or so, then clearly, operational aspects, like tyre management and race execution, can become the dominant factors. Between McLaren and Red Bull, there wasn’t much to choose from, and some of these factors made the difference.”

Stella also admitted that securing pole position would likely have led to a win for McLaren: “Another point is that being in dirty air seemed to play a significant role. Whenever there were backmarkers, you lost pace.”

“So, I think having pole position, leading into the first corner, gives you clean air, which allows you to manage the tyres and your pace effectively. From that perspective, Max did a good job in qualifying. He secured pole and was first into the first corner, which paid off in tyre management.”

Piastri Could Not Have Gone Faster

The Italian also reflected on Oscar Piastri’s performance, who finished just off the podium after a solid race. The Australian could have done better without a qualifying penalty: “I think Oscar pushed as far as he could in this race.”

“I say this because, looking at his data and talking with his tyre engineers, he was pushing to the limit at the end. So, I believe Oscar went all out, and I don’t think he could have gone any faster. In the overall management, Leclerc was slightly more effective than Oscar and managed to hold onto the podium.”

Stella apologised to his driver for the penalty received at the end of the qualifying session: “It’s a bit unfortunate for Oscar because the performance he showed in qualifying was there throughout the weekend to make the podium.”

“We accept responsibility for his error because it’s our fault operationally that he impeded. Oscar made no mistakes; it’s a situation created by the team. But I’m sure Oscar will have opportunities in the future.”

McLaren Pinpoints Key Factor in Imola Loss. McLaren Pinpoints Key Factor in Imola Loss

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