McLaren say what nobody wants to hear on F1 2024 chances as MCL38 launched

Oliver Harden
Zak Brown with a prominent McLaren badge alongside him.

Zak Brown has orchestrated a dramatic revival since taking change of McLaren.

McLaren are adamant they must remain “realistic” with their F1 2024 expectations following the launch of the new MCL38 car on Wednesday.

McLaren recovered from a slow start to 2023 to emerge as the dominant Red Bull team’s most consistent threat come mid-season, with Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri claiming nine podiums between them in the second half of the campaign.

With the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari adopting new development directions for the new season, McLaren are expected to make another significant leap forward by building on 2023’s strong platform with the MCL38.

McLaren urge caution ahead of new F1 2024 season

After Red Bull won a record 21 out of a possible 22 races last year, however, chief executive Zak Brown has insisted McLaren must be realistic when it comes to setting targets for 2024.

He said: “It’s awesome to be able to launch our 2024 competitor, the MCL38, at Silverstone today.

“It’s great to see our new car in its 2024 livery on track and see the hard work and dedication of the team come together.

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“The fantastic thing about this sport is how competitive it is, and therefore we must remain realistic as every team will have made progress in the off season.

“The true test of whether we’ve made steps in the right direction will be qualifying in Bahrain.

“We’re all excited to go racing again, but we know there’s a long season ahead of us and a lot of work still to do to ensure we build on the progress we made throughout 2023.”

Brown’s caution was echoed by team principal Andrea Stella, who admitted McLaren still have plenty of work to do with the MCL38 having fallen short of addressing “all the areas” they wanted to over the winter.

He explained: “The team are excited to present the MCL38 today and to see it on track for the first time.

“Going into this year, we look to build on the momentum of last season but are realistic in the knowledge that every team will have made progress and found competitiveness for their 2024 cars.

“We now have everything in place from an infrastructure, people and culture perspective so we continue to push forward and build on the work done to get us back to front of the grid.

“Before we hit the track for competitive sessions, we have a lot of work to do, including putting the MCL38 through its paces during the Bahrain pre-season test.

“The team has done a good job over the winter, and we are confident we can hit the ground running, but we know we have important tasks at hand before the season starts.

“There are a number of innovations on the car, but not all the areas we want to address have been completed for our launch-spec car. Those areas now become the focus of our in-season development, which is already in progress.

“My thanks go to the entire team, both trackside and at MTC and MRC for their great efforts in ensuring the car was ready to hit the track today, as well as our colleagues at Mercedes HPP for their continued collaboration.

“We now turn our attention to the long season ahead as we look forward to Bahrain testing next week.”

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