System 1 |  Stella: McLaren F1’s deficit ‘reduced’ compared to Ferrari in qualifying.

System 1 | Stella: McLaren F1’s deficit ‘reduced’ compared to Ferrari in qualifying.

McLaren F1 boss Andrea Stella believes Lando Norris qualified ahead of both Ferrari drivers in Japan as one-lap conditions ‘reduce’ the team’s deficit.

The Woking-based team was expected to do well at Suzuka due to the fast nature of the circuit which matched the power of its MCL38.

But while Norris managed to secure third place on the grid behind the two Red Bulls, McLaren lost out to Ferrari in the race despite making strong strategic choices.

Stella, however, insisted that McLaren made no mistake aiming for the podium and that its finish behind Ferrari reflected the pace of the two cars.

The Italian says the McLaren’s weakness in low-speed corners was not evident on the fast lap last weekend, but enough to be a weakness once the tire damage started.

When asked if Ferrari did it wrong or McLaren overachieved during qualifying in Japan, Stella replied: “I think it’s a little bit of both.”

“I think by using a new soft tire we can reduce some of the limitations we have at the moment, such as low speed performance, when you have a new compound, especially a soft one with a lot of grip, you have grip to compensate for certain weaknesses. and we can defend ourselves from that perspective.”

“We didn’t lose much time at the hairpin or some of the other low-speed corners.”

“But today when you use harder compounds, as I said, every lap the tire loses a tenth. So after 10 laps your tire becomes second slowly.”

“Then it exposes the weakness of the car a little bit more. So I think that’s why we suffered more in the race than in qualifying.”

Stella admitted that McLaren will have to struggle to beat Ferrari in the race for development as it did to its rivals last season to have any chance of closing the gap on the Italian brand.

When asked about the upcoming improvements in Miami to allow McLaren to return to Ferrari, Stella insisted that continuing to improve is the most important thing.

“At the moment, they can be enough to challenge Ferrari, but I don’t even want to think that Ferrari won’t make improvements. They definitely will.”

“So, it becomes a development race. But last year, we were able to overtake our competitors. As in the season, we got more lap times than our competitors. So, for us, that remains the goal.”

“And as long as we see that what we plan to bring that promises is fulfilled on the line, then we are happy because we know we are on our way, which we think is a solid way.”