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Stella: McLaren now has key aspects ready to challenge Red Bull

The team wants to regularly challenge Red Bull after closing the gap in the latter part of 2023.

Norris Qatar
To news overview © XPBimages

McLaren Team Principal Andreas Stella believes the team has now the "tools" to take the next step forward, as it looks to improve on its blistering form in Formula 1.

The MCL60 has been one of the biggest success stories of the season, having endured a difficult start to the year that was marred with retirements and technical problems.

After bringing a significant upgrade package to the Austrian Grand Prix, it has enabled Lando Norris to score back-to-back podiums in Britain and Hungary before the summer break.

In the second half of the season, McLaren has scored five podiums, including double rostrum visits in Japan and Qatar with Oscar Piastri earning his first silverware as a Grand Prix driver.

The Australian also claimed success in the Qatar Sprint - the first non Red Bull or Mercedes driver to win one.

Norris has stated that he did not expect to be as competitive with the current package, but Stella puts it down to confidence in the tools available at the factory in Woking.

Stella: Focus on next years car

"You gain confidence [in your concept] at some stage, buut you gain it through the methodical investment in your tools, your methodologies, and in the quality of the work," Stella told media, including RacingNews365.

"Then you gradually gain the confidence, like when we delivered the Austria upgrade.

"Thanks to the work that happened on the ground, we had a decent level of confidence because we saw in our development tools that things were starting to correlate - especially between the wind tunnel and CFD.

"This then raises your level of confidence, but until you actually put the car on the ground, you are always a little nervous."

Stella also confirmed that the team is now utilising the final five races of the 2023 season to focus on next year's car, when it expects to close the gap to Red Bull.

"Now we will be developing the car for weeks and weeks in preparation for next year," added Stella.

"All this development happens in your tools. Only once you put the car on the ground, you will see whether the numbers you expect will actually materialise.

"For this year, there won't be many more upgrades that we will try to solve this knife edge [setup] balance.

"Most will come for next year's car, but we will have to wait until February to actually see what kind of step we have been able to make."

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