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TEAM PREVIEW: After a dramatic turnaround last season, what can McLaren achieve in 2024?

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Anna Francis
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McLaren caught the eye in 2023 by staging an impressive turnaround, going from a difficult start to the season to regularly being in contention for podiums. Can they continue to build on this momentum in the year ahead? Here’s everything you need to know about the team as they prepare for 2024…

Drivers for 2024

Lando Norris #4: 1 pole position, 13 podiums, 633 points, 104 starts
Oscar Piastri #81: 2 podiums, 97 points, 22 starts

Lando Norris will enter into his sixth season in Formula 1 in 2024, which also marks his sixth campaign with McLaren. The Briton continued to impress last season and at times looked like one of Max Verstappen’s closest competitors in the second half of the year.

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Having recently committed his future to the team with a new extended multi-year contract, will this give Norris an extra boost as he searches for his first race win?

Also signed to McLaren for the long-term is Oscar Piastri, who enjoyed a strong rookie outing in the sport in 2023, which included two podium finishes and a victory in the Qatar Sprint. The Australian will be looking to build on this further in 2024.

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - OCTOBER 27: Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren and Oscar Piastri of

Norris and Piastri will enter into their second season as team mates at McLaren in 2024

Last season

McLaren’s 2023 season is notable for perhaps marking the biggest turnaround across the field. It was a tough start to the year for the team, with their pre-upgrade car lacking in comparison to their rivals. Their opening results of P17 and a DNF in Bahrain and P17 and P15 in Saudi Arabia suggested the squad were in trouble.

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But once the updates started to roll out from Austria, it was a different story for McLaren. Norris ended that race in P4, while he and Piastri memorably surged to the front of the field as the British Grand Prix got underway one weekend later.

As the campaign progressed, both Norris and Piastri continued to add to the points tally as well as sharing the podium in both Japan and Qatar, with the latter also the scene of Piastri’s victory in the Sprint. The team ended the season with P4 in the constructors’ championship, keeping fifth-placed Aston Martin at bay by 22 points.

SUZUKA, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 24: Oscar Piastri of Australia driving the (81) McLaren MCL60 Mercedes

There were many on-track highlights for McLaren in 2023, including their first double podium of the season in Japan

History

As the second-oldest team in F1 behind Ferrari, McLaren have a long and illustrious history in the sport. The outfit was founded by Bruce McLaren in 1963, who raced for the team himself and scored their first championship victory at the 1968 Belgian Grand Prix.

McLaren was tragically killed in a testing crash at Goodwood in 1970, leading to Teddy Mayer taking over the team. The squad went on to experience much success, with their first title coming in 1974 with Emerson Fittipaldi behind the wheel.

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Further championships followed in the 1980s, by which point Ron Dennis had become Team Principal. This era was not without its challenges, though – the outfit famously experienced a fierce intra-team battle between Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna later in the decade.

Over the years McLaren have amassed eight constructors’ championships and 12 drivers’ titles, with winners including the likes of Mika Hakkinen and Lewis Hamilton. It was the latter who clinched the team’s last championship in 2008, with the squad experiencing mixed fortunes in the years since.

The team will be hoping to edge closer towards a return to winning ways going forwards.

Greatest achievement

As mentioned above, there have been numerous successes for McLaren during their time in the sport, so selecting one achievement is a challenge. Perhaps the greatest is their incredibly dominant performance in the 1988 season, where the MP4/4 – driven by Prost and Senna – claimed victory in all but one Grand Prix.

Ayrton Senna, McLaren-Honda MP4/4, Grand Prix of Belgium, Spa-Francorchamps, 28 August 1988. (Photo

The McLaren MP4/4 proved to be exceptionally dominant in the 1988 Formula 1 season

One key goal for 2024

McLaren go into 2024 with a definite spring in their step following their increasing success last time out. But what will the squad be hoping for in terms of the level of progression they expect this season?

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Norris has voiced his belief that the team can be in contention for race victories in the upcoming campaign. Whether this will happen remains to be seen, but the British outfit will certainly be set on taking the fight to the likes of Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari in 2024.

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