McLaren sees development slowdown in third year of F1 rules


McLaren technical director Andrea Stella believes F1 teams will be facing diminishing returns on their development this season as the field tightens in the third year of the sport’s ground effect regulations.

Since the introduction of Grand Prix racing’s new regulation platform in 2022, the F1 landscape has transformed.

While Max Verstappen and Red Bull have maintained dominance, the midfield has witnessed a dramatic tightening.

The 2023 season saw some of the closest lap time gaps in history, with all 10 teams pushing each other for position.

Although the past two seasons have seen substantial aerodynamic progress, resulting in faster cars and a tighter midfield battle, Stella believes that unlocking additional performance gains through aero development might now become harder to achieve.

"I think this year, we will see that adding lap time will start to have some diminishing return, I would say, for the first time with these new regulations," Stella said, quoted by

"For two years we have seen progress, especially aerodynamic development, being quite steep. But now, I would anticipate that towards the end of the season, it will become harder for designers to be able to keep a very steep development rate.

"This is why as I said before, we can be competitive if we are able to keep the development rate that we have experienced over the last 12 months."


Stella suggested that the growing maturity of F1’s budget cap coupled with the restrictions covering aerodynamic testing will lead to a truly level playing field.

"Over time, hopefully we will see in the interest of the sport that the budget cap will start having an effect in terms of level playing field," he explained.

"And also the aerodynamic restrictions, because we have to remember that cars that win or do well, from a championship point of view, have less aerodynamic testing available.

"So, hopefully these regulations will allow this level playing field to be generated. And this will make the sport more enjoyable and more competitive in terms of results."

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