Andrea Stella talks up McLaren credentials for Max Verstappen title fight

Lando Norris is 56 points behind Max Verstappen ahead of the 2024 Canadian GP, with McLaren trailing Red Bull by 92 in the constructors standings

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Andrea Stella believes McLaren are on a trajectory to fight Red Bull and Max Verstappen in both 2024 Formula 1 world championships, with the holders looking increasingly fragmented as the season progresses.

Lando Norris has beaten Max Verstappen in two of the last three races ahead of the 2024 Canadian GP while McLaren have outscored Red Bull since China and appear to be in contention for victory once again in Montreal.

Charles Leclerc told reporters he believes he’s a genuine contender for the title and the McLaren boss was asked by Sky Sports F1’s Nigel Chiu whether he also backs his team to take the fight to the reigning quintuple-champions.

“First of all, I do agree with Charles that Ferrari is in the quest to become a world champion in both championships,” Stella told select members of the press, including Total-Motorsport.com.

“As for McLaren, we look at the classification we are in a good position. We look at the plot of the points and we are on a good gradient. But the second after we do that we forget and we think about what we need to do now to be good at the next race.

“What do we do now to be good to the following races delivering projects, so we don’t really focus on outcome and results. We focus more on the process and on always being performance-focused and deliver your projects. I think in F1 if you focus too much on results, you may be easily carried away.”

Stella highlights Piastri improvement

Oscar Piastri during the 2024 Monaco GP | McLaren
Oscar Piastri during the 2024 Monaco GP | McLaren

While Norris outperformed Verstappen in Monaco, it was Oscar Piastri who stood on the most iconic podium in F1 after qualifying on the front row and seeing off Carlos Sainz‘s early attack.

It’s capped a significant turnaround for Piastri after only finished four seconds ahead of the Haas of Nico Hulkenberg at the 2024 Chinese GP, but Stella highlighted changes made in the wake of that result to show how McLaren are continuously improving.

“Specifically in China that was a race in which tyre degradation and managing tyre degradation was important,” Stella added.

“And I think we reviewed what was the objective entering the race in terms of managing tyres, how we executed, how we interacted with the driver during the race, what should have been the contribution of the engineers, what should have been the realisation of the drivers like that’s the kind of things you review.

“And in all those aspects, we found ways of doing a better job altogether. So that’s the kind of conversations you have with a driver to then try and move on, not only the driver but also the engineering support.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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