Has McLaren become the benchmark this season in F1?

The result of meteoric progress over the past year and a half, McLaren is the team which has collected the most points in the last few rounds. Before the Austrian Grand Prix, where the British team is the favorite, only Max Verstappen still seems to resist them.

Published on 26/06/2024 à 10:33

Dorian Grangier

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Has McLaren become the benchmark this season in F1?

© Paulo Maria / DPPI

The trend is confirmed from week to week, from Grand Prix to Grand Prix. On each circuit, McLaren is there. Better yet: she strives for victory in every meeting. Since the Chinese Grand Prix, a McLaren has always finished first (victory of Lando Norris), or second! And over this time, the British team has gleaned 168 units, a score close to that of Red Bull (189 points, including 54 only in China) and much better than that of Ferrari (127 points). Since Imola, the eight-time world champion team is even the one which has scored the most points.

The dynamic of the Woking-based team is excellent, with Lando Norris released following his first victory and a Oscar piastri with impressive maturity. The MCL38 no longer seems to have any real weakness and in the development race, the Oranges have got the best of the competition. Currently, only one car – sorry, only a driver – can thwart McLaren’s plans: Max Verstappen on his Red Bull. According to Andrea Stella, “the two cars are very, very close” in terms of performance as we approach mid-season.

“In Canada the difference in qualifying was 20 thousandths of a second, [in Barcelona] there was a few milliseconds again and it was very similar in the race, underlines the Team Principal of the English team. This is a great achievement for McLaren. I didn't think I'd be having this discussion 12 months ago, and now we're talking about being on par with Red Bull. Nevertheless, we want to continue improving the car. We must continue to move forward. It’s not easy, it requires a lot of work (…) but the people at McLaren are very committed and I am optimistic for the future. »

Verstappen, only man capable of countering McLaren

While McLaren is constantly progressing, Red Bull – which has served as a benchmark since 2021 in Formula 1 – seems to be stagnating with its RB20. Max Verstappen's exploits with the Austrian single-seater are starting to no longer be enough, particularly in qualifying (only one pole in the last four Grands Prix). If the Dutchman is still as ruthless in racing, his domination and that of his team is increasingly contested.

“I always knew it would be very close. McLaren is doing a very, very good job, recognizes Max Verstappen. They've made a lot of good upgrades to their car, and it really seems to be working. For our part, we brought things to the car, but probably not as effective as what others brought to their cars. So now we have to try to find a little more, to try to get back a little ahead. [In Spain] we lacked pace, but also when we had to attack we couldn't take care of the tires like Lando could. This sort of thing is crucial on most circuits where there is a bit of degradation. We have to try to be better at this. »

The Max Verstappen – Lando Norris match should logically continue this weekend at the Austrian Grand Prix. The first will ride in front of a crowd dressed all in orange, on Red Bull grounds, when the second returns to a circuit that he has achieved in the past (two podiums in 2020 and 2021). The two men – who have already shared 1st and 2nd place ten times since 2023! – will start as favorites at Spielberg, whose duel begins, over the weeks, to become a modern classic of Formula 1.

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Dorian Grangier

A young journalist nostalgic for the motorsport of yesteryear. Raised on the exploits of Sébastien Loeb and Fernando Alonso.

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2 Comment (s)


Brid Get

26/06/2024 at 02:14 a.m.

Hello Yves-Henri, totally ok with you, lol!!!!.....

Yves-Henri RANDIER

26/06/2024 at 12:29 a.m.

Reference... with just one victory in 2024? It is premature to move forward, let's wait and see if the Norris / Piastri duo will regularly gain the upper hand over Verstappen, TexMex seeming to be going strawberry picking for some time now!


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