More McLaren upgrades for Monaco, as Stella assesses anomaly venue

McLaren will bring upgrades to stay in the fight for victory at the Monaco Grand Prix as the team’s confidence grows that it can win on the majority of circuits — although it recognizes the unique nature of this weekend’s race.

Lando Norris won in Miami and then was second in Imola after a stirring charge to chase down Max Verstappen in the late stages, crossing the line 0.7s behind the race winner. Team principal Andrea Stella says the very different nature of the two tracks shows McLaren should be competitive at most venues, although he notes Monaco can be an outlier even with a strong all-round car.

“It is a confirmation in Miami and in Imola, which are they are definitely two different positions on the spectrum of the circuits we visit, but the thing with Monaco is it is on the limit of the track characteristics,” Stella said.


“Last year, think what happened to Alpine. They were mega in Monaco, and that’s Monaco — sometimes the car works really well, your drivers are really in the groove and so I would suspend the judgment for the moment.

“We will take some new parts to Monaco, which are track specific for the maximum downforce configuration, and hopefully they will help us staying in the quest.”

Verstappen believes Red Bull might also face a tough test in Monaco, and Stella says McLaren has worked on its low-speed performance but that he is unsure whether it means it will be competitive with the world champion’s car there.

“I hope they are accurate in their prediction,” he said. “I have to confess that my predictions lately have not been that accurate, because I thought in China we would not be very good, I thought [at Imola] with the bumps and lately we are not that good anymore in the high speed [sections] — we have definitely added a bit more in the low- and medium-speed and less in high-speed.”

After coming so close to victory in Imola, Stella adds the performance level of the individual drivers should not be underestimated when so many variables play a factor in getting more pace out of closely matched cars.

“I think the pace Max had in the first stint on medium tires was just superior to what we had [at Imola]. With Lando we minimized the race time, managing the budget of the tires. I don’t think for us it would have been possible to play tactically with stopping early. I think we played our cards well.

“Red Bull had a very good car, but I think we also saw the skills of the driver who won the race, and that is Max Verstappen. For us it is important that we can be there and knock at the door of victories in a weekend when at some stage it looked like Ferrari had the fastest car, and than Max appeared in quali, so it was very variable. But it is important that in the race we were there.”

Story originally appeared on Racer