McLaren still needs improvements to win on outright pace – Stella

McLaren still needs to improve its car before it can regularly win races on outright performance, according to its team principal Andrea Stella.

Lando Norris’ victory in Miami came on a weekend when McLaren had significantly updated its car, and was followed by close second places for both Norris and Oscar Piastri in Imola and Monaco. Norris was again second in Canada after building up a clear lead in the first part of the race, and Stella says the fact that there’s a slight frustration not to have another win shows the level the team is now performing at, but he still feels it needs to make another step.

“This sort of little disappointment for a victory that was possible is actually testament of the fact that the team has come a long way and we are now regular podium contenders, or at times even victory contenders,” Stella said.


“At the same time, I look at the positives and there are many. Certainly the team has been consistent in being competitive despite the variation of tracks, conditions and so on, which is something you can never take for granted, and you don’t gain any credit because you have been this way in the past. Every race weekend, you have to earn your money.

“So ultimately we ideally should make the car a little bit faster, and then be in a condition to chase the victory independent of the conditions on track or the track characteristics. Because we must say [in Canada] in dry conditions, Mercedes was faster than us. So we are still not in a position where we can gain the victory out of outright performance.”

Stella believes there is momentum building at McLaren as it has enjoyed competitive outings with such consistency, but says that being more confident doesn’t automatically translate into good results.

“The confidence grows, but you don’t do very much with the confidence,” he said. “Ultimately the confidence needs to help design new parts – because you are confident and more energized you kind of work even harder because you enjoy these results and you want to see more.

“So it’s more the motivational element, but ultimately you can be competitive and you can be consistently competitive if you do work of good quality. So the quality of the parts we design, the robustness of the operations, the consistency of the driving, that’s the important things.

“The confidence element helps in gaining the energy that you need to put behind these success factors, And especially for like the pit stop crew, the drivers – every athlete that is in a confident space performs better. But you don’t rely on confidence, you rely on good work.”

This weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix is also likely to see some new parts brought by McLaren, but Stella stresses the current approach is going to be to deliver smaller steps as and when the team is ready.

“For the coming races we will have some upgrades, but they won’t be a single kind of big upgrade like you have seen over the last 12 months,” he said. “This is more some individual components where we have found a little bit of performance, and rather than waiting to deploy everything together, once ready we take it trackside. So I won’t say what, but we will see some new stuff coming over the coming races.”

Story originally appeared on Racer