Cumbria Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Graham Read
Formula 1 Correspondent
7:50 PM 14th February 2024

The 2024 Mclaren And Mercedes Cars

In another big day for Formula 1, both McLaren and Mercedes opted to use Valentine’s Day to showcase their new cars for the 2024 season and Silverstone was the chosen location for each event.

McLaren has stuck with papaya and black for its new MCL38
McLaren has stuck with papaya and black for its new MCL38
McLaren led the way by releasing further images of its new challenger, the MCL38, ahead of a filming day ontrack shakedown at Silverstone, having uncovered its revised livery last month. It’s the first car to have been designed with much help from its new wind tunnel and again papaya and black will be the predominant colours. The MCL38 is also the outfit’s first car fully overseen from the beginning by team principal Andrea Stella. The Italian has an engineering rather than a man-management background, but has settled well into his new role and is cautiously optimistic about the season ahead: “Going into this year, we look to build on the momentum of last season, but are realistic in the knowledge that every team will have made progress and found competitiveness for their 2024 cars.” McLaren showed strong pace in the second half of the 2023 campaign and just missed out on finishing second in the Constructors’ Championship.

On the driver front, it’s hard to believe that the highly talented and very likeable British driver, Lando Norris, is still only 24 years old as he starts his sixth F1 season. He recently agreed an extension to his current McLaren contract, which should see him remain with the Woking-based team until at least the end of 2026, and he enthused: “Over the past few weeks I’ve been at the McLaren Technology Centre putting a lot of work in on the simulator with my engineering team, to ensure that we’re fully prepared.”

Lando Norris knows he will again be pushed hard by team-mate Oscar Piastri
Lando Norris knows he will again be pushed hard by team-mate Oscar Piastri
Norris is though all too aware that he will have to drive extremely well to outpace his young Australian team-mate, Oscar Piastri, who is about to begin his sophomore season after one of the most impressive rookie campaigns ever in Formula 1. Both will of course need the new car to be truly competitive, but, if it is, the fortunes of the team and its drivers should continue to rise.

Meanwhile, Mercedes unveiled its new W15 challenger today during a digital launch broadcast live from Silverstone, the final Mercedes car to be raced by Sir Lewis Hamilton before his surprise move to arch rivals Ferrari at the end of this season. After having won the Constructors’ title for eight consecutive years from 2014 to 2021, the Brackley-based team proved to be far less competitive during the last two years. It achieved just a single Grand Prix victory in 2022 (courtesy of George Russell in Brazil) and failed to win at all last season. The extent of its struggles is reflected in the fact that it is well over two years since Sir Lewis Hamilton last won a Formula 1 race.

Mercedes’ new W15 car
Mercedes’ new W15 car
Mercedes did though just edge out Ferrari for second place in last year’s Constructors Championship, so all is not lost. However, it’s a very revealing fact that last season Red Bull’s Max Verstappen personally scored more points than the two Mercedes drivers could muster between them. The Mercedes Technical Director is confident though that the new car will benefit from a higher straightline top speed and a noticeably more stable rear, both crucial for successful racing.

The focus of the team has understandably shifted towards Russell with Hamilton having chosen to leave
The focus of the team has understandably shifted towards Russell with Hamilton having chosen to leave
Today the W15 was driven ontrack by both Russell and Hamilton during what was described as a 15km demo day. A far more extensive 200km filming day will follow in Bahrain next Tuesday, immediately before the start there of the official three-day pre-season test for all ten teams. This really is a crucial moment for Mercedes, as it seeks to regain some winning momentum, and its cautious team principal, Toto Wolff, explained just how high the stakes are: “We’re changing the concept, completely moving away from how we laid out the chassis, the weight distribution and the air flow. Literally there’s almost every component being changed, because only by doing that, do I think we have a chance. But of course we could also get it wrong again. Anything is possible.”

Hamilton’s forthcoming departure leaves many major question marks about who will ultimately be selected to replace him alongside Russell and this will be just one of so many fascinating questions to be answered as the official testing and opening Grands Prix get underway shortly.

However, we still have one more launch event remaining, that of the reigning champions Red Bull, and this will take place at its HQ in Milton Keynes tomorrow.