McLaren’s F1 Miami GP upgrade will be “noticeable” — Stella

Andrea Stella, Team Principal, McLaren F1 Team, talks to fans during the pit lane walk
Photo Credit: McLaren Racing
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The McLaren team had a somewhat disappointing start to the 2024 season following their impressive performance at the end of last year, thanks to the major upgrades that were brought in Austria, Hungary and Singapore.

After finishing P6 and P8 in Bahrain, McLaren has generally been the third fastest team. Japan was disappointing as higher tyre degradation than Ferrari saw Norris beaten by Sainz and Leclerc.

Last time out in China, however, Norris had the legs on the Ferraris and beat Perez to P2.

As a result, expectations are high for their upcoming upgrade in Miami. These new parts not only aim to improve overall performance but also focus on bettering the car’s tyre management, a critical factor highlighted during last week’s Chinese Grand Prix, where rear tyre wear was a key issue.

The Woking-based squad struggled with degradation in the Sprint. However, set-up changes ahead of Grand Prix qualifying helped them massively on Sunday.

“For Miami, we will have finally the first round of upgrades to our car.

“These upgrades will also include some attempts to improve tyre degradation, so we will try and see if we can take a step forward

“Considering the amount of improvement we should do to get closer to some of our competitors, I would say that we need more than one round of upgrades in terms of helping the behaviour of the tyres.”

However, Stella affirmed that despite being cautious about the effect of these upgrades compared to last year, he expects them to make a gain as they look to close in on Ferrari first if the correlation works as expected.

“This upgrade will not be as big as the tool that we delivered last year in Austria and Singapore, but it should be a decent step.

“It should be noticeable. I can’t say much more than that because otherwise, we talk about numbers that we’d like to keep confidential.

“But let’s say not as big, probably as Austria in Singapore, but noticeable if things correlate with our expectation with the wind tunnel numbers, for instance, and with the computer simulation.

“It’s always a big if because even if the hit rate of this correlation has been good over the last 12 months, there’s always possible surprises.”