(GMM) The next step McLaren needs to take towards beating Red Bull is to lock in talented driving duo Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri for the future, before Red Bull poaches them.
The Woking based team has now unveiled its new car livery for 2024, warning that when the new car is ready to hit the track, it will need to be much better than the impressive 2023 edition.
“I expect a big step from Red Bull,” team boss Andrea Stella said. “They hardly developed their car at all last year.”
While Red Bull reveled in its dominance, McLaren impressed with a steady stream of 2023 upgrades. “We are in a much better starting position than we were last year,” Stella admits.
Indeed, McLaren moved into a new wind tunnel last September, a new simulation is now online, and an impressive array of technical names are all now established in their roles.
Stella insists that their brief is not to copy Red Bull’s dominant 2023 machine.
“You don’t necessarily have to recreate a Red Bull to be fast,” he said. “Through the sum of many details, they manage to optimize the flow field.
“We should now be able to make a leap forward. I’m optimistic of that,” the Italian added.
“12 months ago we knew that we would suffer and that we were going to have to change the concept. Now the MCL38 has been tested in the new wind tunnel, it was produced in the new composites department and was tested in the new simulator. Overall, we’re in much better shape,” he said.
“It’s up to us to capitalize on that.”
McLaren is also well set up in the driver department, with Norris regarded as among the very best of the new generation and the even younger Oscar Piastri securing the rookie of the year title in 2023.
“When you’re building a team that has desires to get back to winning the world championship, you need the management, you need the technology, the infrastructure, and of course you need the two grand prix drivers,” McLaren CEO Zak Brown said.
“I think we have all of those in place. We have Lando under contract for another couple of years and we’re in dialogue with him on a continuous basis as 2026 isn’t far away.
“We recognize that being able to retain Lando and Oscar for the foreseeable future is definitely a key element and something that is a high priority for us,” Brown added.