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F1 | McLaren on a “upward trajectory” as they declare 2021 a “positive” season

F1 | McLaren on a “upward trajectory” as they declare 2021 a “positive” season

McLaren continued making progress in the 2021 season as they look to get back to the front of the Formula One grid in the future.

While the Woking-based team didn’t finish P3 in the Constructors’ Championship for a second consecutive campaign as they lost out to Ferrari, they broke their long losing streak by scoring a 1-2 finish at the Italian Grand Prix; it was their first win since the 2012 Brazilian GP with Jenson Button behind the wheel.

Executive Racing Director Andrea Stella says the team had a positive season and the upward trajectory continued for them last year.

“For us the season has been positive. The main objective of this season was to confirm the upward trajectory of the team overall; not only the technical aspect,” Stella said to MotorLat and other selected media.

“I think from both the technical aspect and the team overall, we can confirm that this upward trajectory is there.

McLaren had been 3rd in the Constructors’ Championship for most of the season before Ferrari stole it from them towards the end of it. The Italian squad won out by 48.5 points.

Stella admitted that they weren’t surprised at it happening as Ferrari had shown strong pace throughout the campaign, including poles in Monaco and Baku for Charles Leclerc.

“It’s obvious that once you have been there for so long in P3 in the championship, you kind of generate the appetite to finish P3,” he said.

“We have always been realistic. We have been fighting with Ferrari; we shouldn’t forget they were on pole position in Monaco and Baku in normal dry conditions. So in a way it’s almost a surprise as to why they were not there before the end of the season.

“We identified plenty of opportunities in terms of improvement overall, certainly from the race team point of view and we are working on that.

“The motivation, the dedication is there; I see a very strong team at McLaren so happy from a racing point of view I would say."

James Key, McLaren’s technical director, echoed Stella’s sentiments that the team had a positive campaign.

“I think it’s largely a positive season. We wanted to consolidate the area on the grid we were operating… Q3 and top 10 material at every event which by and large we have been,” he said.

“Obviously we’ve had some great results this year which is really good to see. We’ve been a bit closer to the front on several occasions and raced at the front too when tracks have suited us.

“I think we’ve seen a good progression there and we should be pleased with that.”

McLaren’s 1-2 at Monza + the fastest lap point secured by race winner Daniel Ricciardo had put them 14.5 points clear of Ferrari.

However, Ferrari’s hybrid upgrade after Monza, as well as McLaren’s lack of speed and some bad luck, saw the Italian giants come out on top.

“It’s been a mixed bag of late really which is probably what’s done a bit of damage to the championship position,” Key added.

“We had a difficult triple header for a lot of random reasons; some of it car performance and other things we didn’t expect even when we were in good positions.

“The tyre issue [for Norris] in Qatar for example and the red flag [in Jeddah] didn’t go our way.

“Nonetheless, if you look at the season as a whole, we can be pleased. We know that Ferrari are fearsome opposition. We’re definitely still playing catch up in many ways to them as a team.

“We’re still quite young as an organisation; we’ve got investments coming to catch up to be state of the art and several new facilities.

“To be there for so long in P3, it was great,” McLaren’s technical director concluded.

A. F1


January 11, 2022 at 06:20PM

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