Upbeat McLaren has seen no “diminishing returns” on F1 2024 car gains

While preparations continue back at its factory for the official launch of the MCL38 next month, McLaren on Tuesday evening revealed the livery that its car will run in. 

Off the back of its impressive turnaround in form last year, where it went from near the back of the field to end the campaign as Red Bull’s main challenger, interest is high on whether or not McLaren can continue its rate of progress into this season. 

But offering an early hint about the team’s level of confidence over its 2024 car, team principal Andrea Stella has revealed the momentum McLaren built up through last season has been maintained. 

Asked by Autosport for some feedback on the steps McLaren has been able to make this winter, Stella said: “So far, I have to say we don’t see the diminishing returns.  

“This obviously will have to be proven once we put the car on the ground, but when it comes to the wind tunnel development or the CFD development, we see that the gradient we established last year, that led to the Austria development and then the Singapore development, it seems like we can maintain it. So that’s also where I would expect the launch car to be at the start of the season.” 

Stella’s views on the car’s development is a world away from the situation McLaren found itself in last year when it openly admitted that its launch-spec car was not good enough. 

“When it comes to [aero] efficiency, downforce, drag, it’s ultimately numbers, so you can track them quite well,” he added. 

Oscar Piastri, McLaren

Photo by: McLaren

Oscar Piastri, McLaren

“We saw that last year we had a period of plateauing and we needed to change, from a conceptual point of view, the direction such that we could recover this momentum in terms of development.  

“This year we haven’t experienced this kind of plateauing in the development tracker and gradient, and we see the concepts we had established in last year’s car had quite a lot more to offer, just in incremental gains that you can cash in. So a completely different scenario.” 

Beyond the launch spec, Stella also suggests that McLaren is already unlocking even more gains that will be realised in upgrades that should be on tap early in the campaign.

“In the background, we are already starting to work on the further developments that we hope to bring relatively soon in season, and they also seem to be quite interesting,” said Stella. 

Although McLaren is the first team to reveal its 2024 livery, it has not yet confirmed a launch date for its new car. 

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