McLaren aiming to emulate Aston Martin’s ‘high development rate’ in 2023 season

Henry Valantine
McLaren racing director Andrea Stella. Mogyorod, Hungary, July 2022.

McLaren's Andrea Stella at the pit wall. Mogyorod, Hungary, July 2022.

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella is looking to follow the lead of Aston Martin in making improvements at a high rate this season, though his team will have to do it as the year progresses.

McLaren logged the fewest laps of any team in pre-season testing, despite clocking more than 100 laps per day on average around Bahrain, but a tricky opening race saw Lando Norris forced to pit six times because of a pneumatic pressure leak, and debutant Oscar Piastri retire with an electrical issue.

The innate performance within the MCL60 appeared to be lagging behind their rivals in a congested midfield pack too, though Norris in particular looked capable of getting himself into the points at least.

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

But with the enormous gains made by Aston Martin between the 2022 and 2023 seasons, the Silverstone-based team have leapfrogged McLaren and several others in the Formula 1 pecking order on early evidence this year, with an aggressive development strategy having taken place over winter.

Both teams share a power unit supplier in Mercedes, but beyond that, Stella explained that the way Aston Martin have made aerodynamic changes on the AMR23 is what has helped push them forward this season.

This in turn means it is theoretically possible for every team to do the same, and the new McLaren team principal hopes to see the Woking-based squad make significant improvements of their own as the season progresses.

“I think this step can be seen from different points of view, but I want to acknowledge that they have done a good job,” Stella said to media including PlanetF1.com in Bahrain when discussing Aston’s sudden rise through the field.

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“I think fundamentally, they have been able to develop their car aerodynamically. So this is not necessarily dependent on the kind of collaboration you have with the power unit supplier or the fact that you get the gearbox from Mercedes, I think this is the result of having done a good job in terms of the right aerodynamic development. It shows that this is possible.

“We in a way see in the development of the car in the factory, that [a] high development rate is possible.

“So eventually, they must have been able to do that before other teams – and that’s where we want to land within the season.”