Andrea Stella Reveals McLaren’s Next Plan That Would Be in Step to Oust ”Not Far Ahead” FerrariAndrea Stella Reveals McLaren’s Next Plan That Would Be in Step to Oust ”Not Far Ahead” Ferrari

Andrea Stella Reveals McLaren’s Next Plan That Would Be in Step to Oust ”Not Far Ahead” Ferrari
Credits: IMAGO / NurPhoto

Carlos Sainz snatched P3 from Lando Norris fairly easily in Japan. Charles Leclerc later took P4 from the Briton. McLaren boss Andrea Stella is now keen to make it harder for rivals to get past his drivers after a difficult race for his side at Suzuka. But does he have a plan in place? He sure does and also admits that Ferrari is “definitely not far ahead”.

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Speaking on the F1 Nation podcast, Stella said, “We should have a good round of developments in Miami. Even if it’s a sprint event, we will definitely attempt to deploy them. So, that’s Race 6. And then, we should have at least one, if not two more rounds of development over this season.”

The Maranello outfit is currently sitting easy in P2 with 120 points in the Constructors’ standings. With just 21 points between them and table toppers Red Bull, the Prancing Horse aims to give them a tough battle.

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The gap to McLaren in third, however, is a rather comfortable 51-point margin at the moment. Despite that, Andrea Stella is confident of closing the gap with the Italian giants as the season progresses.

Is that ambition realistic though? Ferrari’s SF24, barring some negligible flaws, is clearly a force to reckon with. Taking notes from its predecessor, the SF23, the engineers in Maranello have managed to make some course corrections.

The front end of the SF24 is now much more responsive. However, that does not take away the balance, as the rear end is equally stable. McLaren, on the other hand, has started the season with an undercooked car.

Just like last year, the Papaya team failed to meet deadlines for the development of the car. However, the MCL38 hasn’t turned out to be a disappointment that its predecessor, the MCL60, was. Building on the momentum of the latter half of 2023, McLaren has turned out to be quicker than Mercedes.

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What is letting McLaren down?

After coming close on a couple of occasions, McLaren opened its podium account in Australia. Not only did Lando Norris finish the race in P3 but he also beat Sergio Perez easily.

Max Verstappen, meanwhile, suffered a DNF after his rear-left brake caught fire. The outing in Melbourne, however, did wonders for the confidence of the Woking team. They are no longer happy just to be on the podium. They want the top step now.

The Japanese GP, however, came as a bitter reminder of the MCL38’s shortcomings. The Suzuka Circuit, which boasts of long straights, hit McLaren where it hurts the most.

Despite that, Lando Norris managed to position himself in P3 on the starting grid. The lack of pace on race day, however, neutralized that herculean effort. While the Briton finished P5, Oscar Piastri in the other McLaren could only manage P8.

The MCL38 is mighty good on medium to high-speed corners, though. It also performs excellently on tracks where the straights aren’t too long. Circuits that match those characteristics are Monza, Interlagos, and the Red Bull Ring, to name a few.

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