System 1 |  McLaren F1: A problem of ‘competition’ and not of strategy in Japan

System 1 | McLaren F1: A problem of ‘competition’ and not of strategy in Japan

McLaren F1 suffered from Ferrari’s rule at the Suzuka circuit where, last year, it was the second team behind Red Bull. Andrea Stella, the team principal, denies that the strategy contributed to the results of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, fifth and eighth in the race, but is aimed directly at the internal performance of the MCL38.

“There was no problem. We tried to aim for the podium by stopping early, making sure that we could maintain our position in front of Carlos and attack Pérez. In the end, the car was not fast enough. That is quite normal. A reflection of our competitiveness at this stage of the season.” to assure Stella.

“Charles and Ferrari did a good job to make one stop possible. It wasn’t possible for us. And anyway, it wasn’t the fastest strategy. C “It’s good that Ferrari kept the tires for a long time and not like one or two stops. It was a real car ride.

Stella hoped the strategy would work, and even though it didn’t, she’s glad she was able to try and target the platform: “I think we were short of options because when we stopped Lando at the start, we knew Ferrari was ready to put obstacles in our way.”

“So we wanted to play the blocking card. We had two sets of hard tires, so we could stop early, and by stopping Lando early, we wanted to see if we could aim for the podium. And we even tried to see if we could go all the way to beat Pérez.”

“I thought it was worth a try. In the end it led us to a race that maybe wasn’t the best in terms of overall race time, but I think it was worth a try. From Lando’s side, we’re happy we tried to finish on the podium.”

Second station “forced by Leclerc”

Norris’s second save was amazing, but Stella thinks it was the only solution to trying to challenge Leclerc: “The timing of the second stop was forced by Leclerc. Furthermore, Carlos was closing in on Lando. So Carlos would pass Lando and once Carlos passed Lando, Lando lost time and found himself behind Hamilton and Russell.”

“When you’re racing a lot of cars, you have to consider a lot of influences. It’s not like you’re just racing one car. I don’t know if it’s fun for the spectators, but for us it makes the race very difficult for the opponents.”

Asked if the team could have done something different to beat Leclerc, Stella is unconvinced: “I don’t think it would have been possible to do more, to finish on the podium in particular.”

“Maybe with Lando, if we had given up on finishing on the podium, we could have finished ahead of Leclerc. In hindsight, that was the only opportunity we could have been given, but we would have had to give up the podium, which we were not ready to do.”

“The third team that did well again”

Oscar Piastri finished between the Mercedes, and Stella believes he could have easily finished in front. According to him, the Australian had enough to prove that McLaren was the third team this weekend, because he thinks that Fernando Alonso is taking Aston Martin to positions that it is not worth.

“With Oscar, I don’t think there were many different options. If we look at the final position, you go to the order of the competition of the cars. I think it’s very bad to have Oscar, during the last lock, we lost the position to Russell.

“Otherwise we would have finished ahead of Mercedes and that, as I said, could have been the finishing order – given that Fernando did a good job as usual, so it’s a bit special in that regard, and I think that’s misleading. a bit about the competitiveness of the car.”

Summarizing the weekend, the Italian gives a positive assessment: “We are happy. We are the third team that did well again, which allows us to consolidate our third place in the championship. It is a positive result.”