Andrea Stella cautious in 2024 F1 predictions for McLaren

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Despite a meteoric improvement for McLaren so far in 2023, team principal Andrea Stella is wary of predicting the team’s potential for the 2024 season, citing the pedigree of the competition in Formula 1.

Andrea Stella in McLaren uniform

McLaren have enjoyed an impressive uptick in form from the middle of the 2023 Formula 1 season, leapfrogging much of the midfield to regularly fight for podium finishes in spite of a less than ideal start to the season.

“We don’t know whether we are developing faster than other teams.”

While the team’s improvements have seen a dramatic improvement in pace, team principal Andrea Stella has stated there is still work to be done on the MCL60’s aerodynamic package. This scope suggests we may see a further improvement from the Woking based team next season.

Despite this however, Stella was wary in discussing the team’s prospects for 2024, citing a possible resurgence for 8-time Constructors’ Champions Mercedes as a threat to the team in their fight to catch Red Bull.

“At the moment, we are encouraged by the development we see on next year’s car,” he said. “But, at the same time, I guess it’s the same for everyone because right now some concepts are starting to be quite clear across the paddock.

“We don’t know whether we are developing faster than other teams. And above all, we don’t know whether we are developing faster than Red Bull. And let’s not forget that Mercedes, I think they realized what they need to work on. And I suspect they’re going to jump back quite strongly.

“There are no factual elements at this stage to say this is the pecking order we’ll see next year. I think things can evolve.”

“We are slightly ahead of where we would have expected…”

Despite his cautious attitude when looking towards next season, Stella did acknowledge the team’s progress so far in 2023, claiming the team are slightly ahead of their targets. He was once again cautious however, emphasising the importance of quality over quantity and ensuring everything, in terms of updates, is done correctly.

“I’m focused on the process,” he said. “You can have targets, and you can say, these are my two, three milestones from a results point of view. But in reality, you don’t work against that. You work just at the fastest, reasonable pace that can be sustained in development. Then we see where we end up.

“If you go faster, you may start jumping the gun, shortcutting, and finding yourself bringing things trackside, and they don’t work because you haven’t been methodical enough. So that’s how we work. Looking at the season, if we really want to check against this best expectation, I think we are slightly ahead of where we would have expected to be even in the most optimistic prediction.”