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Red Bull’s massive head start makes its F1 2024 pace no surprise – McLaren

Red Bull dominated last year, and all its rivals had hoped that a winter of development would allow them to close in on the world champion squad to make a better fight this campaign.

However, a major overhaul of the Red Bull concept allowed Max Verstappen to dominate last weekend’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix and has created the prospect of Red Bull doing what it did not manage last year: winning every race.

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For McLaren the situation is far from ideal, considering it had hoped that the work it had done on its new MCL38 would help it build on the strong form that it enjoyed at the end of last year.

However, team principal Andrea Stella has said he is far from downbeat about the situation and thinks that the situation is quite easily explained.

“Certainly not depressing, definitely inspiring,” he said, summing up his feelings on the way that Red Bull has moved the bar over the winter.

“Not depressing, because I am actually very encouraged and very happy with the developments that our aerodynamic group and our design group have been able to sustain over the last 12 months.

 “The rate of development is ultimately what counts. It is not the creativity of the design. It is the performance that you actually deliver with the car.

“I think we can be reasonably happy that the performance improvements over the winter have been substantial.”

Andrea Stella, Team Principal, McLaren

Andrea Stella, Team Principal, McLaren

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Stella believes that the scale of progress Red Bull was able to make with its car was the result of it having turned off upgrades on its RB19 early last year so it could make an early start on its 2024 car.

“I think for Red Bull in the situation they were [in] last year, with the possibility to not deliver upgrades during the 2023 season, this must have given them more time to think more conceptually and make a large redesign,” he said. “To change the car like they did, that’s months of redesign.

“For us, there were more low-hanging fruit in terms of developing on top of the base concept that we had. And I think so far it is paying off well.

“We can see that in the ground still there is quite a lot left in the tank. So hopefully we’ll see further improvements early on in the season.”

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While McLaren’s place in the pecking order in Bahrain may not be as good as where the team ended the 2023 season, Stella sees huge positives from the early indicators.

“The improvement over the winter has actually materialized according to our expectation,” he said.

“If you look to last year, we have improved [in qualifying by] about 1.8 seconds, which in our calculation is pretty much the sum of Austria plus Singapore plus new car.

“From a numerical point of view, we could see this kind of improvement and it is positive that this seems to be enough to stand in the mix with Aston Martin and Mercedes.”

This article was originally published by a www.motorsport.com . Read the Original article here. .

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