The MCL60 team has slowly implemented a significant upgrade package, although drivers and management have downplayed expectations for recent races. However, McLaren achieved podium finishes at the Red Bull Ring, Silverstone, and the Spa sprint race last weekend.
Lando Norris finished in seventh place in the Belgian GP, but he initially dropped three positions in the beginning due to difficulties with the medium tires. He decided to make an early pit stop and switch to hard tires, but unfortunately, this strategy did not work out well for him. As a result, Norris felt like he was at the back of the pack.
Oscar Piastri had to retire due to steering damage caused by a collision with Carlos Sainz at the first corner. Stella believed that the Spa weekend served as a reminder of the team’s weaknesses, highlighting the need for immediate action to address them before the Italian GP.
He stated that over the weekend we discovered the locations where we are able to carry out our tasks.
The car has shown improvement in certain aspects, which has been verified. However, this weekend also highlighted the areas that still need attention and have not been dealt with yet.
“It serves as a reminder that there is still work to be done and, to some degree, validates the urgent need to address those specific areas.”
“This urgency, for instance, comes from the fact that a second race after [the summer] shutdown is Monza. You can’t go racing in Monza like [we did in Spa].
“There is an immediate need for McLaren to address the situation and undertake necessary actions.”
Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60, leads Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C43
Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images
McLaren’s vulnerability at Spa was due to focusing their design and production resources on implementing a significant update. However, this decision resulted in not having an optimized low-drag rear wing specification, which is crucial for the Monza circuit.
“I must honestly acknowledge that although this arrangement provided us with an advantage in the past, the GP was becoming a notable concern,” Stella stated.
The Italian added: “Overall, let’s say there’s some learning we take out of this weekend. I think the opportunity to remark is not like we necessarily wanted to target this configuration.
Improving the car’s efficiency by reducing drag is a task that needs attention. However, it was not as high of a priority as some other tasks we focused on in the past months.
After his compromised race strategy, Norris implied that the team’s focus on upgrading the car had come at the expense of race execution. But Stella moved to clarify any relationship.
He stated that he does not believe there is a connection between the emphasis on upgrades and the subsequent decisions made regarding set-up upon arrival at Spa.
Due to our heavy workload on other tasks, we were unable to allocate time towards developing low-drag rear wings. The true correlation lies in this circumstance.