Faster progress than hoped for at McLaren F1 is the sentiment for the new team boss Andrea Stella. After a complicated start to the season, the McLaren F1 team was able to bounce back at the Austrian Grand Prix which exceeded all expectations.
With new technical developments on Lando Norris’ MCL60 which propelled the British driver to fourth place at the end of the race, a dazzling step forward considering that the team had only managed to finish in the points on three occasions in its first eight races. A true surprise, and one echoed by Stella with his most recent statements.
Besting Alpine, the direct rival
Building on this progress, Oscar Piastri’s car was then able to benefit from these improvements, and a whole new dynamic was created for the team, which outclassed Alpine in the last three races before the summer break. McLaren now has 103 points in the constructors’ championship, compared with 57 for the French manufacturer’s team, which was (and remains) its direct rival.
Interviewed just before the summer break, Andrea Stella – McLaren’s boss – expressed his enthusiasm and explained the strategy deployed by his team to get back on track: “In the end, the improvements focused on the car’s aerodynamics as a whole.
“We also had to redesign what was under the bodywork, such as certain mechanical components, which had to be adjusted to fit the new shape of the car,” explained the Italian.
Performance ‘exceeded expectations’
“The first series of improvements exceeded our expectations. In our internal communications and reports, we’ve always said: ‘towards the end of 2023, we’d like to be competing with some of the fastest cars of the moment’.”
“We’re halfway through the season, and we’ve already managed to take two podiums [Editor’s note: Great Britain and Hungary with Lando Norris] and a second place in a sprint race [Belgium with Oscar Piastri] on merit,” enthuses Stella, who is keen to highlight the work carried out by all his teams over the last few weeks.
“This success is down to the people at McLaren who have been able to identify the concepts to evolve the car, plan them, design them, produce them, quality control them and get them to the circuit, overcoming significant logistical challenges.”
“And to think that some of the improvements were made one race earlier, in Austria. We’ve proved that when we have clear and simple goals, get everyone together on those goals and work collaboratively, we can achieve exceptional things at McLaren.”
Further ‘fixes’ for the MCL60 by Monza
But the former engineer has no intention of resting on his laurels and points to the problems still present in the MCL60, which he intends to remedy quickly, before the Italian Grand Prix at Monza scheduled for early September.
“The next series of improvements will be a continuation of those we have made in previous races,” he insists.
“There is still time to go further, and we will try to do so. There are encouraging signs in development, but, as always, the proof will be in the performance achieved on the track.”
“We also need to work harder to address some of the weaknesses we encountered in Belgium.”
“We hadn’t worked much on reducing the aerodynamic drag of the car, and in Belgium we lacked efficiency and top speed.”
“We want to work urgently on aerodynamic drag, as part of a smaller parallel piece of work, to see if we can reap results that are easy to achieve for Monza.”
“This activity will run in parallel with the main development of the car, which will benefit us on all circuits.”
Andrea Stella was appointed head of McLaren last December. Prior to that, Andrea Stella worked for 15 years at Ferrari alongside Michael Schumacher, Kimi Räikkönen and Fernando Alonso.
Stages of supporting McLaren this year pic.twitter.com/44QdKBy5P1
— F1 TROLL (@f1trollofficial) August 12, 2023