Stella: McLaren needs another “12 months” to solve all of its F1 car weaknesses

Photo Credit: McLaren Racing
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Even though McLaren placed third and fourth in Australia, they still have a long way to go before they catch up to Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen.

Team Principal Andrea Stella has predicted that the team will need “another 12 months” to develop and address its weak spots. He addressed some of the main issues like a lack of DRS efficiency and their performance deficit in long corners.

In Saudi Arabia, Oscar Piastri got stuck behind Lewis Hamilton for over 30 laps as McLaren’s lack of straight-line speed got brutally exposed.

“We are extremely happy with the rate of development over the last 12 months, but there’s, I would say, another 12 months’ development that we need to go through to actually offer a car that is strong in DRS and is strong in the long corners,” he said.

McLaren is due to bring a sizeable update at Miami or Imola. After such big gains with upgrades during 2023, the team will be hoping to make solid gains again this time around.

“Around race six or seven we should have a decent round of upgrades, and hopefully there will be potentially a couple of them throughout the season.”

Stella believes that McLaren’s inability to overcome its shortcomings is neither surprising nor indicative of something “going wrong” back at the base in Woking.

Speaking in Bahrain before the opening round, Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri admitted that the negative long-term handling characteristics still appeared with the MCL38.

“There’s nothing going wrong, the car is not developed enough and these aspects expose themselves like you become weak in long corners or you don’t have enough speed in DRS.”

He clarified that it’s because all teams have to choose their upgrades and developments with the budget restriction and it takes time to develop and enhance performance in all areas.

McLaren’s Lando Norris secured the team’s first podium of the season while Australia’s Oscar Piastri finished fourth in his home race giving the team their best finish of 2024 so far.