How do McLaren catch Red Bull? Oscar Piastri reveals secret trick to F1 victory

McLaren were one of two teams to beat Red Bull in any race in the 2023 F1 season

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McLaren kicked off 2023 miles away from Red Bull until an unbelievable mid-season upgrade catapulted the team to just a few tenths back, allowing them to battle for wins, and Oscar Piastri revealed how they’re going to catch Max Verstappen going forwards…

Piastri was one of two drivers to beat the Dutchman in any kind of race in 2023 with his Sprint Race victory at the Qatar Grand Prix, with the other winner being Carlos Sainz in Singapore, and he’s confident that with some smart upgrades, McLaren can continue to close the gap.

Where is their first upgrade? Well, it’s at the Miami GP… So, the Australian took the time to point out where Andrea Stella and his engineering crew need to focus their efforts and kick on in order to close the gap as they bid to eliminate weaknesses and improve universal performance.

“The Red Bull is a very strong car in general,” Piastri said to media ahead of the 2024 Miami GP. “It doesn’t really seem to have a major weakness. It’s just strong in all areas. So, I think that’s what we need to be able to do.

Sergio Perez leads the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz plus Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso and the two McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri at the 2024 Bahrain GP | Mark Thompson/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Sergio Perez leads the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz plus Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and the two McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri at the 2024 Bahrain GP | Mark Thompson/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

“I think we have some certain areas that are weaker for us than some of our competitors, which we’re trying to address, and I think we’re getting closer and closer. [There were] points last year we were very close at a couple of tracks.

“We’re not the well-rounded package that Red Bull is at the moment. So, I think we’ve still got some work to do. The upgrades this weekend are trying to help us with that.

“With the trajectory we’ve had, if you look at us 12 months ago to where we are now, we’re in great shape and hopefully later this year and next season, we can start to challenge bit more.”

Where can McLaren potentially fight for a win in 2024?

One of the main issues the team battled with throughout 2023 was drag and low-speed corners and both of them are issues that still seem to exist this season if we look at how long it took Piastri to overtake Lewis Hamilton at the 2024 Saudi Arabian GP.

But there are tracks where the team indicated they were really close to the pace of Red Bull. One of them, the 2024 Japanese GP, has already come and gone but where are the others? Generally, any track full of high-speed corners played perfectly into the hands of the papaya.

That means that McLaren might be very competitive at the British GP, the Hungarian GP, the Dutch GP, the Qatar GP, United States GP and the Brazilian GP, but it remains to be seen whether they will be able to go one better to beat Red Bull on pace for their first Sunday win since 2021.

Brandon Sutton
Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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