The Silverstone-based team openly acknowledges that their current year’s car has underperformed in certain areas, contributing to their strenuous weekend at Monza. Fernando Alonso, the team’s star driver, had a below-par performance at the Italian Grand Prix, ending the race in a disappointing ninth place. Alonso’s teammate, Lance Stroll, fared even worse, leaving the circuit without accruing any points in 16th place.
Alonso has been evident in highlighting the need to increase the car’s efficiency to improve team performance. Responding to Alonso’s comments and the issue in general, McCullough emphasized that heightening the car’s efficiency is a high priority for the team. He stated, “Fernando touched on the efficiency of the car.” McCullough elaborated on this matter to F1 Initiative, admitting, “It is an area where at the start of the year we were definitely one of the slower cars in the straight line.”
The team has made efforts to improve the base car, specifically focusing on the performance of the rear wing levels. Implicitly acknowledging the necessity of further refinement, McCullough asserted, “It’s an area of improvement, and it is an area we need to improve more for next year, that’s clear.”
However, McCullough recognized that significant alterations benefiting this year’s model are unlikely, with the upcoming Las Vegas race amplifying the enormity of efficiency, equivalent to the challenges presented at Spa and Monza. He remarked, “The main architecture of the car, the whole car more than just the rear wings, the areas that we’ve worked on, there are a lot of elements that contribute to the efficiency of the car,”.
Most of the remaining courses for this season aren’t particularly known for demanding high efficiency like the aforementioned. Hence, the team’s concentration predominantly remains on their next car, AMR24. McCullough affirmed their commitment, stating, “Our focus is really on AMR24, to make sure that as we’re developing that car we are developing as efficiently as we can do, and more efficiently than this year’s car.”
The team admits that the Monza event shed light on the complexity of finding the right balance between downforce and straight-line speed in the current racing cars. Declaring his viewpoint on the dilemma, McCullough explained, “You can choose the rear wing level to be fast in the high-speed grip limited corners. It’s really important, because the second Lesmo, Ascari and Parabolica have got very long straights after them.”
Striking the right balance between speed in corners and straight-line speed is a complicated process, especially with the first sector in qualifying being a low-speed corner with a considerable amount of straight produces power-limited sections. In his final remarks, McCullough noted, “I think this generation are cars and the characteristics of people’s cars has led to a bit of a difference in rear wing philosophy.”