McLaren boss names rival team he ‘suspects will jump back strongly’ in 2024

Michelle Foster
Oscar Piastri's car being worked on in the pits at Monza for the Italian Grand Prix.

McLaren predict F1's pecking order will 'evolve' in 2024.

Second on the track although not in the standings, McLaren’s Andrea Stella believes the pecking order will “evolve” next season with the team boss wary of a resurgent Mercedes.

Off to a dismal start this season as McLaren admitted they had missed their pre-season development targets, the Woking team had just 17 points on the board after eight rounds.

Eight races later, they’re up to 172 with the team’s upgrades hitting their marks and resulting in a run of eight points-scoring races that have included five podiums with a season’s first double in Japan.

McLaren team boss: I think things can evolve

Racing an MCL60 that’s more in line with the Red Bull downwash philosophy, McLaren have emerged as Red Bull’s nearest challengers with Ferrari and Mercedes vying to be third best on the track.

It’s headway that McLaren hope will continue into next season, however, Stella admits he’s worried Mercedes could surge ahead.

“At the moment, we are encouraged by the development we see on next year’s car,” he said as per

“But, at the same time, I guess it’s the same for everyone because right now some concepts are starting to be quite clear across the paddock.

“We don’t know whether we are developing faster than other teams. And above all, we don’t know whether we are developing faster than Red Bull.

“And let’s not forget that Mercedes, I think they realised what they need to work on. And I suspect they’re going to jump back quite strongly.

“There are no factual elements at this stage to say this is the pecking order we’ll see next year. I think things can evolve.” recommends

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It’s been an impressive turnaround from McLaren with the Woking team’s upgrades, introduced in Austria followed by a second big package in Singapore, said to have shaved a second off the MCL60’s lap time.

Stella though has warned against getting lost in time targets.

“I’m focused on the process,” he said. “You can have targets, and you can say, these are my two, three milestones from a results point of view.

“But in reality, you don’t work against that. You work just at the fastest, reasonable pace that can be sustained in development. Then we see where we end up.

“If you go faster, you may start jumping the gun, shortcutting, and finding yourself bringing things trackside, and they don’t work because you haven’t been methodical enough. So that’s how we work.

“Looking at the season, if we really want to check against this best expectation, I think we are slightly ahead of where we would have expected to be even in the most optimistic prediction.”

McLaren are fourth in the Constructors’ Championship with 172 points, 49 behind Aston Martin who were the early-season P2 holders.

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