Stella: Competitiveness level at Japanese GP “will depend on how we do in the hairpin and chicane”

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This week has been a massive one for McLaren so far. For the team that got excellent points from Norris’ P2 and Piastri’s impressive P7 in the Singapore Grand Prix, the agenda now is to maintain this success with a great team effort. Both cars will have the full upgrades at the Japanese Grand Prix and look set to fight for a great result at Suzuka this weekend.

It was also confirmed by the Woking-based squad today that Oscar Piastri will be staying with them until 2026 at least. With Lando Norris on a contract until the end of 2025, McLaren’s medium-term future looks very good on the drivers’ side.

Photo Credit: McLaren Racing

McLaren’s team principal Andrea Stella was also asked to comment on whether Suzuka is going to suit the car better than Singapore’s Marina Bay Street Circuit did. The rapid improvements to the MCL60 has allowed Norris to score three podiums, including a terrific P2 at the high-speed Silverstone circuit. The British venue has similar traits to Suzuka.

Stella’s outlook on how they’ll fare in Japan appears to be rather upbeat for the most part, but he did issue a warning on two key areas of the iconic track where McLaren need to be cautious in regards to just how fast they will be.

“On paper, it should be more suitable than Singapore because of the high-speed section [and the fact it is] a smooth track. That’s the main two reasons really why it should be more suitable than this circuit here in Singapore.

“There’s a couple of corners which are a bit tricky, which is the hairpin and the last chicane. I’m really curious to see how we do that. It’s two very important corners for lap time, but I would say sector one should suit our car.

“From a genuinely technical point of view, the absolute level of competitiveness will depend on how we do in the hairpin and chicane.”