While Ferrari is working to regain its greatness, McLaren is not far behind. The historic Woking-based team has put together a truly extravagant 2023 Formula One season. The first part of the racing campaign saw the MCL60 performing quite poorly, only to transform into a super competitive car. Andrea Stella, the new team principal of the British team, had certainly not hidden behind a finger during the presentation. On the contrary, with great courage, he painted a clear picture of the team’s technical situation, promising that things would change over the course of the season.
And so it happened, with the brightest expectations being met. A car that completely changed its skin from July onwards. Although the prospects were good, no one could have expected such a significant competitive step. A learning curve covered at maximum speed allowed the team to make a great comeback in the Constructors’ Championship. They earned 302 points during the season, securing the fourth position in the constructor standings by beating Aston Martin.
The foundation of the 2024 car is excellent; this is the belief of the English team, which, together with Red Bull, made a precise suspension choice starting from 2022. A “risky” decision but potentially very valid. The wishbones and the two triangles ensure a lot of grip, providing the car with a center of roll and instant rotation. However, in modern F1, the suspension system acts as a real flow channel, more than necessary to manage the vortex structure directed towards the rear of the single-seaters.
Making the relevant kinematics, the pull rod, work was not easy at all. The interaction between mechanics and aerodynamics came only last year through various targeted updates. A step towards the future to offer stability to the car. During the last few months, a lot of work has been put together for 2024. Measures aimed at taking another step upwards. The goal? McLaren is not able to set a target at the moment. The intention is to close the gap with Mercedes and Ferrari.
F1: Andrea Stella Praises Former Ferrari Engineer David Sanchez
The climb is still quite long. McLaren knows it. During the day, the first photograph of the group with new acquisitions arrived via social media. Among these, the bald head of David Sanchez stands out, a former engineer of the Scuderia Ferrari who, from the next season, will try to make an impact within the English team. As usual, kind words abound for those who embrace a new project. Inside the British team, there are those who know the aerodynamicist well, who has spent many years in Maranello.
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We are talking about Andrea Stella, who has shared a lot of time with him. The engineer from Orvieto talks about his acquaintance. He explains how he was present at the interview with David Sanchez before signing the contract. He speaks very highly of him, defining him as one of the most interesting and creative personalities in all of F1. In fact, he recalls that at Ferrari, in the 2017 and 2022 Formula One seasons, years in which significant rule changes occurred, Ferrari started ahead of everyone. He then continues, expressing his enthusiasm to work with him. He can’t wait, in practice.
Without a doubt, we cannot consider good old David Sanchez lacking. However, in his stint at the court of the Prancing Horse, he did not cover himself in glory. A conjecture must be made. The two years mentioned by Andrea Stella need to be analyzed more thoroughly. In 2017, it was Enrico Cardile who achieved the goal with innovative ideas. While in 2023, the heir to the F1-75 did not cover itself in glory. Furthermore, the personality of the Frenchman is not the most exhilarating, often displaying a resigned attitude. Perhaps it was not his natural habitat? Maybe.
On the other hand, many technicians who have worked at Ferrari once they left Italy have made the fortunes of other teams. We cannot know if David Sanchez will find his dimension at McLaren. Certainly, he did not do so in Maranello, and partly the blame is his. It will be interesting to see him at work in a different environment, and who knows if, together with his great admirer Andrea Stella, he will be able to contribute to bringing back a prestigious team to the top. If he succeeds, it will be further confirmation that working at Ferrari is much more complicated than one might think.
Source: Zander Arcari for FUnoanalisitecnica