McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella has asserted that his squad's chassis improvements are more pivotal to a title charge than Mercedes' Power Unit.
Earlier this year McLaren announced an extension with Mercedes, with the Brackley-based squad continuing to supply engines until at least the end of 2030.
The two have operated together since 2021 after McLaren endured difficult stints in partnership with Honda and Renault.
McLaren enjoyed a strong campaign this year despite a slow start as it recovered to consistent front-running competition.
The MCL60 scored nine podiums during the season, as well as a sprint race victory courtesy of Oscar Piastri in Qatar.
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'Championship challenge requires chassis work'
Lando Norris highlighted that he is expecting even “bigger changes” from the team next year following its 2023 recovery.
But as it looks towards mounting a title challenge in the coming years, Stella suggested that it will demand more from its own outfit rather than PU supplier Mercedes.
“I wouldn't say that it's so easy,” Stella told media including RacingNews365.com when asked if the Mercedes extension is the final piece in the puzzle for it to mount a title fight.
“It's one of the elements you have to have. It’s a necessary condition, not sufficient at all. In order to contend for championships, there's quite a lot of work to do that needs to be done on the chassis side.
“I think we will be competitive for the years to come from the power unit side. That's for sure. That's why we have made this decision.
“But there's so much work to do on the chassis. And even this year, what we have achieved, yes it’s important – remarkable in a certain way – but already, we haven't developed the car for a few races.
“We can see that some of the cars are brought some upgrades and immediately our competitiveness is not as good as it was a few races ago.
“It's an incredibly competitive business. So, for us, it’s focus, certainly in the collaboration with HPP but above all, on ourselves and making sure that this momentum is carried forward into the next years.”