Stella outlines what McLaren need to do to ‘seriously challenge’ Red Bull going forward

May 11, 2024

Stella outlines what McLaren need to do to ‘seriously challenge’ Red Bull going forward

09 May 2024

Andrea Stella has admitted that McLaren will need even more upgrades if they are to fight with Red Bull on a regular basis this season, despite taking plenty of satisfaction and encouragement from the team’s Miami Grand Prix display.

Lando Norris claimed his first-ever F1 win at the 110th time of asking in last Sunday’s encounter at the Miami International Autodrome, benefitting from a mid-race Safety Car to jump early leader and Red Bull rival Max Verstappen.

READ MORE: Norris admits first win is a ‘weight off’ but says he never doubted victory would come

After a failed attack at the restart, Verstappen, having complained of tyre struggles and car balance problems throughout the weekend, was unable to make an impression on Norris, who had a raft of updates at his disposal.

In an appearance on the post-Miami F1 Nation review episode, McLaren team boss Stella was asked for his reflections on the event and whether he feels McLaren will be able to challenge Red Bull more often as the campaign develops.

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2024 Miami Grand Prix: Norris celebrates with his McLaren team after his maiden Grand Prix win

“We do believe that we are on a strong trajectory, but at the same time, I think this wasn’t necessarily a strong weekend for Red Bull,” said Stella, moving to play down expectations for upcoming races.

“If you hear [all] the drivers, they’ve always lamented that the car wasn’t behaving as usual, and conditions were quite extreme in terms of the tarmac temperature.

TECH WEEKLY: How McLaren’s major Miami upgrade helped Norris secure his debut F1 win

“Clearly, things were relatively unique. You go out on a soft tyre, you should go faster, and you hardly go faster than a medium tyre, so I think it was some exceptional circumstances.”

Stella added that McLaren’s upgrade – Norris having been given all of the new parts and team mate Oscar Piastri around half – appeared to work as planned, though he believes another step of a similar size will be needed to consistently feature at the sharp end.

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“We know that we did improve the car because we see that the data correlates well on track with the development tools, so we are encouraged and optimistic,” he went on to comment.

“But I think, looking at the numbers, looking at how much we actually improved the car, I would have said that we needed two steps of this size to be competitive regularly with Red Bull.

BEYOND THE GRID: Zak Brown on how he’s instilled a winning mentality at McLaren and what Norris’s victory means

“We have delivered only one [so far]. We look forward to the next one, and this would make me much more optimistic that we can take the serious challenge to Red Bull.”

Norris’s victory, which also marked the first triumph for McLaren in a race since the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, strengthened the Woking squad’s grip on third position in the constructors’ standings, having now amassed almost double the points of fourth-placed Mercedes.

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Jolyon Palmer’s Analysis: How Norris beat Max in Miami | Workday

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