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Why McLaren can build upon their Miami victory

McLaren have reasserted themselves at the top of F1, but their round-six victory is only the start of their 2024 aspirations.

Aston Martin dominated the headlines last season for their tremendous winter development. The British outfit managed to climb from midfield mediocrity to the very front. Twelve months later, it is McLaren whose sustained trajectory has captured the paddock’s attention.

The first version of the MCL38, seen from Bahrain to China, represented a reasonable change from the 2023 car. However, McLaren’s aggressive development push last year meant they began this year with relatively limited changes.

As a result, their first major upgrades of 2024 were quite transformative. Given the Woking-based team’s success rate in the last twelve months, there were few doubts about the effectiveness of this package.

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McLaren hopes to maintain their momentum

Speaking after Norris’ victory, Andrea Stella spoke about the team’s journey so far:

“We’ve been on a journey for some time after an incredible turnaround last year. We’ve kept momentum, and today is another very important step and, hopefully, the starting point for greater success. So, I’m very happy for all the people at McLaren.

“I hope they enjoy this moment because I know how much work has gone into delivering these upgrades. It’s not just design or just manufacturing. It’s an effort across every department at the factory and from the trackside team.

“This goes beyond just the people at McLaren. It goes to our power unit partners at HPP and our technical and commercial partners, who are vital to this success. It’s teamwork in the widest possible sense.”

Aggressive and consistent development

Moving forward, McLaren will look to introduce more upgrade packages. With the F1 budget cap, teams are rewarded for efficiency rather than brute spending. Andrea Stella’s personnel have been lacking in this area.

Even ignoring the improvements set to arrive later in 2024, their existing car can still be further optimised. One weekend is never enough to find the ideal operating window for an F1 car – let alone with a Sprint race format.

Therefore, whilst Red Bull and Ferrari respond to the MCL38’s latest iteration, the papaya team can build on their new foundations.

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