McLaren’s masterplan: Securing Norris and Piastri to beat Red Bull

McLaren is gearing up for the 2024 Formula 1 season with a clear strategy in mind: eventually outpacing Red Bull and securing their place at the forefront of the grid. Zak Brown, McLaren’s CEO, believes a crucial part of this plan is locking in their talented driving duo, Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, for the future.

The team, based in Woking, has unveiled new car livery for 2024, getting in early to signal a determined push for significant improvement. Team boss Andrea Stella, while recognizing the need for a leap forward, said, “I expect a big step from Red Bull. They hardly developed their car at all last year.”

While Red Bull enjoyed its dominant run in 2023, McLaren kept impressing with consistent upgrades. “We are in a much better starting position than we were last year,” Stella admitted. The team’s recent advancements include a new wind tunnel, a fully operational simulation, and an impressive array of technical expertise now firmly in place.

Stella made it clear that McLaren’s goal isn’t to simply emulate Red Bull’s winning formula. “You don’t necessarily have to recreate a Red Bull to be fast,” he explained. He emphasized the importance of optimizing various details to enhance performance.

Looking ahead, Stella sees potential for significant progress: “We should now be able to make a leap forward. I’m optimistic of that.” He detailed the extensive preparation that has gone into the MCL38, noting its testing in the new wind tunnel, production in the updated composites department, and trials in the advanced simulator. “Overall, we’re in much better shape,” he concluded.

In the driver’s department, McLaren seems well-prepared. With Norris recognized as a top talent among the new generation of drivers and Piastri securing the FIA Rookie of the Year title in 2023, the team appears strong. “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,” Brown stated.

He acknowledged the importance of retaining Norris and Piastri: “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.

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