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McLaren confident over impending 'visible' gains

McLaren has enjoyed a strong start to the 2024 Formula 1 season and its development plan will soon come into effect with upgrades in Miami.

Norris China race
To news overview © XPBimages

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella has stated his team should make a “decent step” forward in Miami through car upgrades.

The Woking-based squad sits third in the constructors' championship after the opening five rounds, scoring a duo of podiums with Lando Norris.

McLaren's development programme was hailed last year when upgrades delivered at the Austrian Grand Prix vaulted it up the pecking order.

While Stella is not expecting a repeat of such a jump this time around, he is hopeful that the gain in performance will be visible.

“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,” Stella told media including RacingNews365.

“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.”

Tyre concerns in Miami

The upcoming round in Miami marks an opportunity for McLaren to score its third podium in four races.

Stella believes that the event will place a lot of focus on tyre performance and acceleration.

"Certainly the next one will be another interesting one from a tyre point of view,” he said.

"Especially if in Miami we have high temperatures like we had previously, so that track becomes quite a bit rear limited; a lot of traction with low-speed corners and then acceleration."

However, he is hopeful the upgrades fitted to the car will combat the challenges presented to the team in the United States.

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

"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.

"But for everything, this is kind of constant development. You never assume that that's good enough when it comes to keeping the tyres in the right operating window.”

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