McLaren pinpoint key influencer in stunning F1 2023 recovery with future plans set

Jamie Woodhouse
Oscar Piastri, McLaren, enters the pit lane.

McLaren driver Oscar Piastri enters the pit lane at Suzuka.

McLaren boss Andrea Stella has heaped praise on Mercedes for their role in McLaren’s resurgence, a partnership now set to continue through to 2030.

After the failed attempt to rekindle the past glories of their Honda partnership, McLaren returned to another engine supplier of their title-winning days by reuniting with Mercedes in time for the 2021 campaign.

Under Stella’s watch, the team is now very much on an upwards trajectory once more with nine podiums claimed so far through F1 2023, while Oscar Piastri drove the MCL60 car to victory in the Qatar sprint race.

McLaren liking what they see from Mercedes

That Mercedes power unit has been put to full effect by McLaren, who like fellow customer Aston Martin, have taken the fight to Mercedes through F1 2023, McLaren surging forward through the campaign to establish themselves as a serious threat for the dominant Red Bull team looking ahead to F1 2024.

The current power units are in place until 2026, when a new generation of PUs will be introduced, McLaren taking a major leap of faith by putting their trust in Mercedes until 2030.

But Stella said that was a “straightforward” decision for the team, hailing Mercedes as “absolutely instrumental” in their resurgence.

“The reasoning of the decision for us it was quite straightforward, because we are very happy with the ongoing collaboration,” Stella told media in Abu Dhabi.

“They were absolutely instrumental, even in the progress of the team this year I have to say, but above all, the kind of reassurance we got from a technical point of view, the operational standards, just how solid is what we saw when we checked what was at stake for 2026, it made this decision quite simple for us.

“So we’re just delighted that we have this level of continuity and stability as we look forward.” recommends

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The ultimate goal for McLaren is to return to challenging for titles, so Stella was asked if this Mercedes partnership extension is the final piece in the puzzle.

Stella though says this is merely an element, with plenty of work ahead for McLaren on the chassis side to rise to title challenger status.

“I wouldn’t say that it’s so easy,” Stella admitted.

“It’s one of the elements you have to have, it’s a necessary condition, not sufficient at all. In order to contend for the Championship, there’s quite a lot of work to do that needs to be done on the chassis side.

“I think we will be competitive for the years to come from the power unit side, that’s for sure, that’s why we have made this decision. But there’s so much work to do on the chassis.

“Even this year, what we have achieved, yes it’s important – remarkable in a certain way – but already we haven’t developed the car for a few races and we can see that some of the cars have brought some upgrades and immediately our competitiveness is not as good as it was a few races ago.

“It’s an incredibly competitive business so, for us, focus is certainly in the collaboration with [Mercedes] HPP, but above all on ourselves and making sure that this momentum is carried forward into the next years.”

McLaren will look to secure P4 in the Constructors’ Championship at the F1 2023 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with the team currently holding an advantage of 11 points over Aston Martin.

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