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McLaren Are Cautiously Optimistic About 2024: “More Steam in the Tank”

McLaren have more to be optimistic about than most of the grid in 2024. ...

The countdown is on for the 2024 season and we’ll likely hear most teams sound optimistic about their prospects, but McLaren probably have the most to be optimistic about after their stellar mid-season comeback.

The only problem for McLaren is that history is against them. It hasn’t been since around 2019 that the team have started a season strong, most of the time they have to turn things around. Sometimes they’re successful, sometimes they’re not. Regardless, starting strong is exactly what team principal, Andrea Stella, is aiming to do in 2024.

“What I can say in terms of development is that we could maintain the kind of development gradient that we established last year that led to the Austria upgrade and then the Singapore upgrade,” Stella told the media.

“In the background at the end of the season and then over the winter, we worked on trying to retain these gradients.

“I would say that we’ve been able to do so looking at the aerodynamic development, but also looking at the suspensions, the interaction with the tyres, we should have been able to make some steps forward.”

While he’s confident that McLaren haven’t taken a step back, that doesn’t mean the team will be taking a step forward either as it really depends on how the other teams have progressed over the winter break.

“Whether this is enough to retain the level of competitiveness we had last year, if it’s better [or] if it worse, this will depend on what the competitors have done,” Stella continued.

“At this stage, if I look at the resources, if I look at what we were conditioned to do, I would say that I’m encouraged by what I see, what we’ve been able to do.

“At the same time, I can see that there’s some more steam in the tank.

“This is already leading to some developments that we want to bring early in the season to continue this gradient of development because we are very aware that competitors will make a large step forward.”

Will McLaren be taking on Red Bull in 2024? Stella doesn’t believe so simply because they’ve had such an advantage in 2023 that it would be a monumental task to just catch-up.

“I would expect Red Bull to be making a large step forward considering that they haven’t developed their car over the 2023 season,” Stella added.

“So I think chasing for victories will require a large improvement from a performance point of view.”

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