Mercedes and Ferrari’s Qatar woes show McLaren mustn’t be complacent – Stella

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In the round-up: McLaren team principal Andrea Stella says his team cannot afford complacency in its fight for fourth place in the championship with Aston Martin.

In brief

Even great teams trip up in F1 – Stella

McLaren has slashed its deficit to fourth-placed Aston Martin from 102 points to 11 in the last three rounds. But Stella says the team will not take its success for granted, pointing out how easily Ferrari and Mercedes missed out on significant points hauls in Qatar.

“We stay very, very grounded,” said Stella. “We saw how marginal things are. We saw what happened with Mercedes, like what happened with Ferrari who didn’t even start.”

Lewis Hamilton retired on the first lap of the Qatar Grand Prix after colliding with his Mercedes team mate George Russell, while Carlos Sainz Jnr’s Ferrari failed to start due to a fuel leak.

“This is not because they are not great teams with great drivers,” Stella continued, “this is because the sport is very marginal. The best thing you can do is just stay focussed, humble and keep delivering. And then, like I say, we will see in Abu Dhabi.”

Ricciardo back in action for Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo returned to the cockpit of a Formula 1 yesterday, performing a demonstration run for Red Bull in Nashville at the wheel of their 2011 championship-winning RB7. He has been out of action since breaking a bone in his left hand in a crash during practice for the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort.

Sztuk wins Italian F4 title with a race to spare

Kacper Sztuka clinched the Italian Formula 4 championship with his eighth win of the season at Vallelunga yesterday. McLaren junior Ugo Ugochukwu ended Sztuka’s run of six consecutive race wins in the day’s opening encounter, but Sztkuka’s later triumph ensured he can’t be overhauled in today’s final race. While Ugochuckwu has totalled 277 points over the season, the series’ rules only allow drivers to score their 16 best results. That leaves him on 270, Sztuka out of range on 298.

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Comment of the day

The FIA has been given more time to respond to Felipe Massa’a questions over its handling of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix and its potential repercussions for that year’s world championship, which he lost to Lewis Hamilton:

Nice of Massa to give an additional month to F1 to respond.

Liberty will be happy that at least one championship will go down to the wire this year.

There’s still time to join in this weekend’s Caption Competition:

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Fer No. 65, Sebastiaan Huizinga and Carlos!

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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8 comments on “Mercedes and Ferrari’s Qatar woes show McLaren mustn’t be complacent – Stella”

  1. Indeed & thus, while overhauling AM is rather probable, catching up the 79-point gap to Ferrari (or Mercedes, for that matter) over the same race & sprint amount is unlikely because, unlike AM, they’ve both drivers regularly score points.

    1. 03 Long, rambling comment with off target speculation
      05 Prediction/s that prove to be unfounded

  2. ‘Stenshorne received a reprimand for wearing a watch during the race, in contravention of the FIA International Sporting Code, Appendix L, Chapter 3, article 5, ‘which prohibits the wearing of any kind of jewellery, including bracelets or watches, during competition’.’

    It sure is lucky that this rule doesn’t apply to (certain) F1 drivers.

  3. It’s a nice thought from the Guardian letter-writer, and in a civilised country this is exactly what would happen. But unfortunately we live in a dystopian hellscape where Everything is Broken On Purpose, and it’s likely that Ecclestone’s payment will instead be used to pay down the national debt, as usually happens when the government receives an unexpected windfall.

    I also don’t think it’s appropriate to “thank” someone for paying what they always owed to begin with, years or decades late.

    1. The Govt reaction was probably:
      “£652 million? Nice!
      We can pay off the mortgage on the holiday homes, destroy the whistleblowers, and still have cash left over for the Christmas party!”

    2. The UK has a pretty high debt though at over 80% of GDP, so while some extra money could be spend elsewhere, keeping that debt on the books also costs a lot of money over the longer term.

      And unlike other serial debt-spenders like France and Italy, the UK has its own currency so they have to keep it somewhat under control and can’t expect others to foot the bill (directly or through inflation).

      1. Imagine having a national debt below 100% of GDP… (cries in USA)

  4. Robert Henning
    15th October 2023, 11:26

    McLaren boys will hopefully give Max a good run for his title next year. They are the only other team apart from Red Bull who seem to know what to do. Anything they put on their car makes it go fast. Although I have to admit that their floor looks rudimentary compared to Red Bull’s floor which probably explains the latter’s race trim advantage.

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