McLaren rubbishes Toto Wolff’s claim

McLaren have bounced back from failings early in the season but there are still areas for improvement before they can challenge Red Bull.

McLaren’s introduction of a significant three-step aerodynamic update at the Austrian and British Grand Prix has earned high praise for its impressive performance, allowing the team to outpace rivals, including Mercedes. 

However, while the recent results have been encouraging, McLaren’s Team Principal, Andreas Stella, remains cautious about their performance and acknowledges the need for further improvements in low-speed corners.

The first two stages of the aerodynamic update proved highly effective for McLaren, as evidenced by Lando Norris finishing second in the past two races, behind the dominant winner, Max Verstappen. 

This recent success enabled McLaren to surpass Mercedes, and Toto Wolff, the team principal of the eight-time constructors’ championship-winning squad, estimated that the update provided McLaren with a gain of approximately one second per lap.

Want to work in Formula 1? Browse the latest F1 job vacancies

“You can see how McLaren has leapfrogged everybody else with an update – they didn’t expect to come in that powerful,” Wolff remarked.

“Whatever it was, they gained a second probably. 

“And they leapfrogged Aston Martin and Ferrari, who we’ve seen as really strong contenders at the beginning of the season, and now they’re nowhere.

While the final components of the update were delayed and not ready for the Hungarian GP as planned, the team has still shown remarkable progress on the track. 

Article continues below

However, Stella was cautious about Wolff’s estimation, stating that their internal numerical estimate did not yield a one-second gain. 

He suggested that the aerodynamic improvements, while significant, did not provide such a substantial boost in lap time.

“In fairness, we haven’t done a proper numerical estimate,” Stella explained.

“We had our own internal estimate based on what we saw in the aerodynamic maps. 

“And then you simulate these and this gives you a number, which I cannot share really, but it wasn’t one second. 

“So, I think, somehow the behaviour of your car and the development of your car kind of helps with tyres at the same time. 

“This gives you further lap time benefit.”

Following the recent Budapest Grand Prix, in which McLaren’s Oscar Piastri finished fifth and demonstrated the effectiveness of their car’s development, Stella expressed his satisfaction with the team’s progress in medium-speed corners. 

However, he emphasised the need for improvement in low-speed corners to maintain their competitive edge.

“We certainly come out of this event encouraged that we have made progress in medium speed,” Stella continued.

READ: McLaren reveal how Sergio Perez wrecked Oscar Piastri’s race

“That’s what we certainly see from comparison with our competition. 

“We also see that we do lose time in the three low-speed corners… 

“So confirming that there is still work to do in low speed.”