Formula 1 | McLaren F1: Disastrous Bahrain race was ‘biggest challenge’ of 2022

McLaren F1: The disastrous race (...)

During the season-opening Grand Prix in Bahrain, the McLaren F1 team had a nightmarish weekend and it was feared that they would have an extremely complicated season, but they were able to correct the situation quickly.

For James Key, the technical director of the team based in Woking, this first round represented, in addition to the budgets capped, the biggest challenge of this new era of Formula 1 for his people.

« There were a lot of challenges as it’s a brand new car, but I would say the biggest was our very tough first race as it set the tone for the rest of the season. We progressed quickly after that. and got some good results in the following races, but the start was difficult. And you can also talk about the pace of development which is important with new regulations.

« The capped budgets also have a big influence, we had to choose carefully what to do and when. We had to react incredibly quickly after the problems encountered during pre-season testing in Bahrain a week before the first race, but we as a team, solved the problem and found solutions that worked. Sometimes we were quick, sometimes not fast enough, and it’s no one’s fault, it’s just where we are at the moment. »

« There were already the capped budgets last year, but we were well below that. Whereas in 2022 it was much more difficult with the new car. It’s a learning process and like us, it « There’s probably four or five other teams working under budget, it’s all about balance. The fact is if you spend money in one area, it will impact another. »

Capped budgets guarantee F1’s long-term financial stability

If capped budgets bring new constraints to F1 teams, it is also what will allow the discipline to continue longer according to Andrea Stella, McLaren’s race director.

“The capped budgets forced the teams to work more efficiently. We were able to identify and exploit some opportunities that we probably wouldn’t have had if we hadn’t been under this financial constraint. From this point view, they have had a positive impact. This allows Formula 1 to have long-term financial stability and fairness, which was the main objective of these capped budgets.

« I think inflation should also be mentioned, which has increased costs and made budget planning difficult. For example, freight parts are included in the budgets. Currently, this leads to additional costs and that is a challenge for all parties in F1. »

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