McLaren managing expectations ahead of F1 Chinese Grand Prix

The 2024 F1 season has started strongly for McLaren, with the team picking up steam right after the end of the 2023 campaign. Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri scored points in each of the first four races of the year, and the team finished the Japanese Grand Prix in third place in the constructors’ championship. 35 points difference from 4th place Mercedes.

This strong start may cause a bit of a problem this weekend.

This weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix will see the grid return to Shanghai for the first time since 2019, but the layout of the Shanghai International Circuit, with several slow corners, particularly in sector one, may not suit the current configuration of the MCL38.

This weekend’s team previewboth Norris and Piastri, as well as team principal Andrea Stella, did their best to manage expectations accordingly.

“It’s been a while since I raced in Shanghai, so I’m looking forward to getting back. The last race was a bit difficult, but I still managed to score some points. I took some time to reflect and reset.” Norris said.. “It would be good to see what we can do on a sprint weekend. The variety of sessions makes it more interesting for everyone. This may not be a circuit that suits us, but we are ready to give it our all again. is made of.”

The fact that this weekend will be the first sprint race of the season for Piastri, who will be racing at the circuit for the first time, adds an extra layer of difficulty.

“I’m excited to race at the Chinese Grand Prix for the first time. The Shanghai International Circuit is a completely new track for me. It’s the first sprint weekend of the season, so I’m excited to make the most of the first practice session to get used to the track. It’s very important. I was back at the MTC participating in the sims, but on the course it’s different, of course,” Piastri said.

“Hopefully we can collect some more points for the team and have a positive weekend.”

For team principals, the layout in Shanghai could pose some problems, as well as the possibility of weather.

“Next it’s back to Shanghai for the start of the Chinese Grand Prix. This weekend is the first sprint event of 2024. This could increase our chances of scoring points, but we especially want to collect as much data as possible before the race. We also have the added challenge of having to give our maximum effort in the first practice session in order to race on a circuit that we haven’t raced on for five years,” Stella outlined.

“Of all the circuits we have raced on so far this year, the Shanghai International Circuit does not seem to be the best suited for our car and can be subject to unpredictable weather,” the McLaren boss said. continued. “The lack of data for all teams may present some opportunities and challenges, and we are confident that we will be well prepared and in a position to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. We will work hard to confirm.

“We know where we need to improve in order to consistently compete at the top of the grid, but as always we will give our all this weekend and aim to get back into the fight.”