According to Andrea Stella, McLaren’s team boss, his team showed last season that they have the potential to achieve an even better result than the fourth place achieved. According to the Italian, the pieces of the puzzle have increasingly fallen into place in recent months, so he says it is no secret that the British racing team is one of the four teams that can have a chance of winning the championship in the coming years.
McLaren has had a special year: after a dramatic start, which quickly left them at the bottom of the field, they managed to turn the tide and ultimately fourth place in the constructors’ championship was the maximum possible. Still, the upward trend last season made fourth place more desirable, so Stella is almost certain that there is more to come for his team. However, the Italian knows better than anyone that the competition has not stood still in recent years, and therefore assumes that they have the same major steps in mind for the coming season.
McLaren hopes for a successful 2024, but competition does not stand still either
In conversation with Speedcafe, the team boss spoke clearly about the objectives for the next season. ‘We want to do better. All the ingredients now have the potential to achieve a better result than fourth place, but it will be another long season. We’ll see where we are at the start of the year.’ Stella also knows that McLaren will not be the only team that will appear at the start with a strong car in 2024. ‘We don’t know for sure yet because we don’t know what the competition is doing. We don’t know how much they will improve during the winter break, but if we look at 2023 as an indication, especially the period after Austria, we at least know that McLaren scored the most points behind Red Bull Racing. It would be great if we could also confirm that on the track.’
Yet Stella has known for a long time that competition will be lurking no matter what, because even his own experience teaches him that the big teams will always participate. ‘We know how ambitious Mercedes is, because it is not without reason that they say they are going to change their entire car. And at Ferrari they will probably not be satisfied with that third place last season.’ However, according to Stella, the ambition to keep improving is an important characteristic of Formula 1. ‘The sport is so competitive these days, it was even that way when I started in 2000. Back then it was Ferrari and McLaren, but there are always a few cars in that mix.” Yet, after a number of disappointing years, McLaren can join that list again. ‘We now have four teams that have had the right credentials to fight for the championship since the start of the season.’
Crowds at the front of the field are beneficial according to Stella
According to Stella, there will even be a fifth team involved, because Aston Martin also showed what it has to offer in 2023. ‘We cannot forget Aston Martin either, because from a technical perspective they are certainly capable of competing in the championship.’ Formula 1 seems to have had an extremely competitive time in recent seasons, and Stella sees the benefits of this. ‘So it is very busy at the front, but we hope that we can continue the good results of 2023. Ultimately I think that’s good for the sport because it’s great that fans can enjoy competitive racing. I hope that 2024 will have even more variety in store for us, especially in terms of victories, and I hope that McLaren, Lando (Norris, ed.) and Oscar (Piastri, ed.) will also be successful in that respect.’