McLaren sees gains for all, but the most for Red Bull

McLaren’s data suggests all of the Formula 1 teams have made a step forward ahead of the 2024 season, but singles out Red Bull as the only team to make significant progress.

The opening day of pre-season testing in Bahrain saw Max Verstappen set the pace by over a second, and complete significant mileage in an ominous start. Day two provided a different picture on the timing screens, with Carlos Sainz 2.5s quicker than Verstappen’s time, and 0.75s ahead of Sergio Perez but having used the softer C4 tire.

For McLaren, the second day yielded the fourth-fastest time with Lando Norris and team principal Andrea Stella says the signs from its car are good, but sees a bigger gap to Red Bull emerging.


“In terms of report from the two days, I would say that starting from a performance point of view, the car delivers what we expected,” Stella said. “No big surprises — which in itself is some good news, because there are some elements of innovation in the car. So we wanted to see how they would have worked trackside, and they seem in line with expectations.

“I think the car is a good foundation for development — it’s a step forward compared to last year’s car. But overall, I can see that many cars have made a step forward, which is normal. Everyone finds performance in every week of development.

“There’s one car that seems to have found a big step — unfortunately, the car that was already the quickest last year. Some cars, I would say the group was already quite compact last year and, to me, it looks even more compact this year. That’s what we have learned from a competitiveness point of view.

“Otherwise, apart from this little setback on the fuel system, it’s been a relatively smooth session. Oscar [Piastri] and Lando could learn everything pretty much we could learn in a couple of days; a bit more to do tomorrow, especially for Oscar who has run the afternoon session. There’s quite a bit to cash in because clearly the track improves dramatically from like four o’clock onwards, and what you do in the morning session is relevant but not fully representative.”

Explaining the interruption to Norris’ running, Stella says investigations will need to take place to understand the cause of the reliability issue.

“We had to check something in the fuel tank this afternoon. It allowed us to run while we were starting race simulation, but actually we needed to stop the race simulation, so we didn’t bring this achievement home today, because we needed to get into the fuel system. We changed some parts and the car was in condition to go again. So, a little setback but we have identified and will look into what the exact reason is.”

Story originally appeared on Racer