McLaren make surprise admission as ‘innovative’ MCL38 car launched for F1 2024 season

Oliver Harden
McLaren launch the MCL38.

McLaren launch the MCL38.

Andrea Stella has admitted McLaren still have areas to “address” before the start of the F1 2024 season following the launch of the new MCL38 car.

Much is expected of McLaren in 2024 after the team recovered from a slow start to last year to emerge as the most consistent threat to Red Bull in the second half of the season, ending 2023 with nine podiums and a sprint race victory in Qatar.

The MCL38 is expected to be the next big step towards returning McLaren to regular race-winning contention, but team principal Stella says the team must remain realistic heading into the new season.

McLaren launch MCL38 car for F1 2024 season

And he has admitted the team have not addressed all the areas they wanted to with the launch-spec MCL38, teasing there is more to come as the season develops.

He said: “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. recommends

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“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.”

McLaren were transparent about missing development targets at the launch of their 2023 car a year ago, with technical director James Key leaving the team after the first two races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

The Woking-based outfit went on to embark upon a stunning mid-season turnaround, with a three-stage upgrade between the Austrian and Hungarian grands prix transforming the MCL60 into a regular podium contender.

Key’s departure led to a reorganisation of McLaren’s technical department, with Peter Prodromou, Neil Houldey and David Sanchez – a high-profile signing from Ferrari – sharing responsibilities.

McLaren’s workforce has also been boosted by the arrival of Rob Marshall after almost two decades at Red Bull.

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