Formula 1

F1 News: Andrea Stella Gives Insight Into McLaren Testing – “More Margin To Improve”

Amidst the bustling pre-season testing in Bahrain, McLaren’s Formula 1 team has been putting the new MCL38 through its paces, with Team Principal Andrea Stella expressing satisfaction with its performance. Stella highlighted the car’s improved rear grip as a key achievement, aligning with the team’s goal to enhance the car’s grip overall.

Stella also pointed out areas where the car could still see improvements, including its aerodynamic performance, mechanical aspects, and interaction with tyres. These areas are critical for the team’s ongoing development programme, aiming to maximise the car’s performance throughout the season.

The MCL38’s testing phase has confirmed the car’s capabilities, meeting the team’s expectations without any significant surprises. This consistency is particularly encouraging for Stella, given the introduction of several new features in this year’s model compared to the previous MCL60.

Key Takeaways:

  • Enhanced rear grip on the MCL38 marks a significant improvement, aligning with McLaren’s strategy to boost the car’s overall grip.
  • Stella acknowledges ongoing development needs, particularly in aerodynamics, mechanical performance, and tyre synergy.
  • With a solid performance foundation, Stella is optimistic about the car’s development trajectory, despite the intensely competitive F1 landscape.

Stella commented, as quoted by Autosport:

“I think some of the weaknesses have been improved. For instance, we are I would say happier with the grip at the rear axle, which was one of the aspects that we wanted to work on. Overall there is more grip in the car.

“There are some aspects that we still have some work to improve, save the fact that the major performance opportunity remains overall grip.

“It’s not like you need to correct features, you just have to put more grip on the car, which mainly comes from aerodynamic performance.

“But we have some more margin to improve, also from a mechanical point of view. And also in terms of interaction with the tyres. So in all these three aspects we plan to bring developments over the course of the season.”

Stella continued:

“I would say that starting from a performance point of view, the car delivers what we expected.

“So no big surprises, which in itself is some good news, because there’s some elements of innovation in the car.

“I think the car is a good foundation for development, and is a step forward compared to last year’s car.

“But, overall, I can see that many cars have made the step forward, which is normal. Everyone finds performance in every week of development.

“There’s one car that seemed to have found a big step. Unfortunately, the car that was already the quickest last year.

“I would say the [chasing] group was already quite compact last year, and to me it looks like even more compact this year.”

Looking forward, Stella hinted at further innovations in the pipeline that were not ready for the launch specification of the MCL38. While these upcoming developments might not be as revolutionary as those seen in rival teams like Red Bull, they are expected to significantly contribute to McLaren’s performance potential.

“There are some areas of the car in this launch specification that have significantly evolved compared to last year.

“Some of them are very noticeable. There are some other areas that have only incrementally improved.

“But we see in the background in development that there’s actually quite a lot of potential, which we didn’t exploit in time to make it for the launch car.

“We are confident in our development. We are confident in the concepts that we have in the car, but if anything, it’s a matter of how far you are in the journey.

“And clearly they have been ahead in this journey. And they sort of keep this margin in terms of where they are positioned in their development journey.”

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