McLaren placed on high alert by resurgent F1 rival: ‘They seem to be back’

Michelle Foster
Lando Norris, F1 news

Lando Norris has responded to questions about Red Bull after signing a new McLaren deal.

Replacing Aston Martin as the team to beat behind Red Bull, Andrea Stella has warned McLaren their championship rival “seems to be back”.

McLaren and Aston Martin have had contrasting seasons. When McLaren were down on performance, the team sitting on 17 points after the Canadian Grand Prix, Aston Martin were the team taking the fight to Red Bull with 154 points.

12 races later, with McLaren winning the development war, it’s the Woking team that’s emerged as Red Bull’s closest challenger, the team onto 282 points, 21 ahead of Aston Martin.

‘Aston seems to be back to the place they had to start the season’

However, the battle in the Constructors’ standings is by no means over.

Last time out in Brazil, having scrapped their experiments and R&D tests, Aston Martin brought in their biggest points haul since round three, the Australian Grand Prix.

It has Stella acknowledging Aston Martin are still very much in the conversation for fourth place.

“On our side, we do have to acknowledge that Aston seems to be back to the place they had to start the season,” said the team boss as per RacingNews365.

“For us, it is a consideration in the championship, and we need to be very wary that they can score strong points in the last few races.”

Formula 1 next heads to Las Vegas, a complete unknown on a weekend that could be cold and wet, before wrapping up the championship in Abu Dhabi. recommends

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Stella highlights Red Bull’s advantage over McLaren

But while beating Aston Martin is this year’s target, McLaren wanting fourth place, the ultimate goal is to depose Red Bull as Formula 1’s World Champions.

That, though, could still be a few years away.

Although McLaren have closed the gap to Red Bull with their two big in-season upgrades, the MCL60 is still lacking compared to the rampant RB19.

“At the moment,” Stella explained, “the difference is not in dirty air, but mainly in terms of lap time on used tyres.

“Like we have seen, on the new tyres, we can fight for pole position, but as soon as the tyres degrade, it would appear like Max and Red Bull, they just have less degradation.

“If you can limit that, after 10 laps in a stint, it is tenths of a second, so that is where they are superior at the moment.

“This is where we think the difference is made and we can’t do very much with this car.

“It has improved since the Singapore upgrade, in terms of tyre management, but it is not enough to compete, especially when the degradation is high like [in Sao Paulo], where we saw other cars degrading quite a lot, like Mercedes.

“That was a bit of a surprise, because when you have these high levels of degradation, it is also when Mercedes seems to do well, so we were surprised [why it was not competitive].”

This season McLaren have achieved nine podiums of which six have been runner-up results, five of which saw Lando Norris lose out to Max Verstappen.

Read next: Las Vegas: The perfect place to complete a Red Bull redemption arc