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McLaren detail why Red Bull pace is 'not depressing'

Red Bull once again appear to be the pick of the field this year but McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella does not see it as a depressing situation.

Stella Bahrain 2024
To news overview © XPBimages

McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella has described why Red Bull's dominant Formula 1 pace is “not depressing”.

Red Bull's RB20 car turned head when it was unveiled earlier this year due to the radical changes from its RB19 predecessor, which won 21 out of 22 races staged during the 2023 season.

The Milton Keynes-based squad was once again the class of the field at the season-opening round in Bahrain last week with Max Verstappen securing pole position before winning the Grand Prix by over 22 seconds ahead of teammate Sergio Perez.

McLaren ended the outing in sixth and eighth with Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri respectively and appear to be part of a closely contested group consisting of rivals such as Mercedes and Aston Martin.

It nevertheless marked a much more encouraging start for the team compared to 12 months ago when it was languishing at the rear of the pecking order throughout the opening rounds.

When asked if Red Bull's dramatic car changes car leaves a depressing or inspiring mood, Stella told media including RacingNews365: “[It’s] certainly not depressing, [it’s] definitely inspiring.

“[It’s] not depressing, because I am actually very encouraged and very happy with the development that our aerodynamic group and our design group have been able to sustain over the last 12 months.

“The rate of development is ultimately what counts. It’s not the creativity of the design, it’s the performance that you actually deliver to the car.

“We can be reasonably happy that these performance improvements over the winter have been substantial.”

Development push 'paying off' for McLaren

Stella recently explained why it is taking some time to deliver substantial upgrades to its car that it hopes will further propel it up the running order.

The Italian added that McLaren's development focus has differed greatly to Red Bull's over the last year.

“For Red Bull in this situation, they were last year with the possibility to not deliver upgrades during the 2023 season, this must have given them more time to think more conceptually and make a large redesign of the car,” he said.

“To change the car like they did, that's months of redesigning in the car.

“For us there was more low-hanging fruit in terms of developing on top of the base concept that we had.

“So far it’s paying off well, and we can see that in the car still there's quite a lot of steam in the tank. So hopefully we will see further improvements early on in the season.”

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