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HomeSportsAndrea Stella says McLaren can ‘reach Red Bull’ in 12 months

Andrea Stella says McLaren can ‘reach Red Bull’ in 12 months

  • McLaren aims to surpass Red Bull within a year
  • Verstappen dominates Chinese Grand Prix; Norris finishes second
  • Stellar progress prompts optimism for McLaren’s future in F1

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella is optimistic that his squad could surpass Red Bull within a year following an unexpectedly impressive performance at the Chinese Grand Prix, where Lando Norris of the United Kingdom finished second.

Max Verstappen won the race with yet another dominant performance from the starting line to the finish line; he will almost certainly not be surpassed on his path to a fourth consecutive championship. After five meetings, he is 25 points ahead of his Red Bull teammate Sergio Pérez and has won four of those five grands prix.

However, Norris and McLaren captured the attention in Shanghai. They had anticipated a difficult time navigating the circuit’s preponderance of slow-speed sectors but instead demonstrated an extraordinary turnaround. The British driver achieved an outstanding second-place finish. Most remarkably, he easily surpassed the two Ferraris and was more than a match for Pérez, who finished in third place.

McLaren has achieved remarkable progress over the last twelve months. They began the 2023 season with an abjectly sluggish vehicle. However, nine podium finishes in the second half of the season resulted from a succession of midseason upgrades; this form has continued into 2024.

Although McLaren did receive some assistance at the time due to the world champions prematurely ceasing development of their 2023 car, Stella does not see any reason why the team cannot achieve comparable progress and reclaim the lead after Red Bull made enhancements to their vehicle during the winter.

“Because we gained so much ground while they were not developing, we lost some ground,” he explained. “For this reason, we must adopt a long-term perspective, and during that time, we have been on a solid trajectory.”

“Why not if we maintain this impressive trajectory for the next twelve months?” “We might even encounter Red Bull.”

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McLaren, which is third in the constructors’ championship standings, will bring its first significant enhancements of the year to the upcoming round in Miami. Should it achieve a comparable level of progress as it did in 2023, it may emerge as Red Bull’s most formidable rival.

Stella also lauded Norris, who finished second overall for the season because of his exceptional driving. Stella believed that he could keep Pérez in pursuit despite managing his tires for an extended period while maintaining sufficient speed. This was evidence that Norris was well on his way to becoming the consummate driver.

“Throughout the race, he appears to be gaining increasing consistency and comprehension of the situation,” he said. “What we refer to as the racecraft appears to be expanding in size and attaining greater precision.”

“His collaboration with his engineers and the factory’s assistance in developing minor adjustments to maximize the vehicle’s potential has been exceptionally successful. He has performed admirably in this regard.” He deserves credit for this.

Norris, who has yet to earn his first Formula One victory, believed his team was progressing towards enabling him to do so.

“One day, I believe it will be necessary for me to be satisfied with my work,” he stated. “Saying it does not inspire overconfidence on my part. I am confident that we can achieve victory this year. The task is substantial; however, diligent effort is being put forth.”

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