McLaren explains lengthy MCL38 development period

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McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella has explained why his squad is having to wait to see significant improvements to the MCL38 challenger.

The Woking-based squad entered the season highlighting its desire to boost its aerodynamic efficiency, low-speed mechanical grip and interaction with Pirelli tyres.

It has commenced the new campaign in a much stronger position compared to 12 months ago when it was positioned towards the back of the field having missed development targets.

McLaren opened the current campaign with a sixth and eighth-place result in Bahrain for Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri respectively.

With developments expected in the coming races, Stella outlined that being efficient while operating under Formula 1’s cost cap is behind McLaren’s delay in fitting new parts.

“It’s just how long it takes to get some projects mature enough to actually say, ‘Okay, let’s deliver to the race car’,” Stella told media including RacingNews365.

“Especially in a regime of cost cap, you can’t afford to release expensive parts of the car [and say] ‘OK let’s take it trackside, let’s see how it works’. You really need to deliver mature parts.

“If I take some of the areas that we wanted to address, this is taking just longer than the time required to release the parts and have them ready for the launch. So it’s just the time it takes for development.”

Change in development process

Stella added that how teams go about developing cars has changed ever since the budget cap was introduced in 2021.

“We have seen last year’s cars that [teams] put things on the car and complicated life and started to [give] headaches. That’s not what you want to do.

“Nowadays, I would say that from a development point of view, wind tunnel plus computer simulation, they give you a reliable expectation of what you’re going to find trackside.

“In the past, you would be using the track almost as a development tool – ‘let’s deliver this part trackside, let’s see how it behaves, and he will give us information’.

“But nowadays, you can’t do that because of the cost.”

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