2024 McLaren F1 car launch: team cautious as MCL38 is revealed


McLaren has revealed its 2024 F1 car, the MCL38. See the launch video and pictures, plus driver line-up and key personnel

McLaren MCL38 front image

McLaren has revealed the first pictures of its 2024 F1 car, the MCL38, today, releasing them at 8.38am.

The car will run on track at Silverstone later today on the livery that was revealed earlier this year, retaining its familiar orange and black colour scheme.

It’s being cautious about its chances in 2024, despite finishing on a high as Oscar Piastri won the Qatar sprint race, Lando Norris ended the season with seven podiums and the team secured fourth in the constructors’ standings.

If it can continue its momentum then the team will be hoping to run at the front and potentially challenge Red Bull but its reserved attitude is still considerably more positive than last year when it had already realised crucial errors in the car’s design when it launched — which took half a season to resolve.

“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,” said team principal Andrea Stella. “We now have everything in place from an infrastructure, people and culture perspective so we continue to push forward and build on the work done to get us back to front of the grid.”

As with many other teams this year, Stella emphasised the importance of development work, which is already heavily planned.

“The team has done a good job over the winter, and we are confident we can hit the ground running, but we know we have important tasks at hand before the season starts,” he added. “There are a number of innovations on the car, but not all the areas we want to address have been completed for our launch-spec car. Those areas now become the focus of our in-season development, which is already in progress.”

McLaren MCL38 launch image

Both McLaren drivers showed last year that they have the potential to fight for race wins and championships, given the right equipment. Piastri will be hoping to build on his Qatar sprint race win with a Grand Prix victory, while Lando Norris must be anticipating a first victory if any kind after has confirming that the team is “on the right track” in terms of its development with “plenty more still to improve”.

Norris and Piastri will get behind the wheel at the Silverstone shakedown as all the pieces certainly seem to be falling into place, but much like the rest of the grid, McLaren will only know whether it has a title contender at the first race of the season.

“The true test of whether we’ve made steps in the right direction will be qualifying in Bahrain,” said McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown. “We’re all excited to go racing again, but we know there’s a long season ahead of us and a lot of work still to do to ensure we build on the progress we made throughout 2023.”

McLaren MCL38 launch image side


McLaren 2024 car launch live stream 

There was no launch event for McLaren’s MCL38 but a short video, seen above, does show some of the car’s features.


2023: A hint of what may be to come

McLaren team photo 2023 Abu Dhabi GP

McLaren: tipped to impress in 2024


McLaren began 2023 rather slowly: Piastri forced to return to the garage just a handful of laps into his F1 debut, while Norris trundled around at the back of the field. Fast-forward to Silverstone, and the Woking marque were totally transformed.

A critical update to the floor of the MCL60 had improved its aerodynamics considerably, resulting in much better qualifying performance and race pace. Silverstone set the tone for what was to come, with Norris securing a front-row start alongside Max Verstappen, followed by Piastri in third. While the latter faded to fourth in the race, Norris was able to realise the full potential of McLaren’s new found pace, securing second place.

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A similar result followed in Hungary, where Norris would finish on the podium again while Piastri finished almost a minute behind the leader in fifth. But the Australian’s time was soon to come. Further impressive performances from the team in Singapore and Japan quickly meant a critical fourth place in the constructors’ standings was within reach, but the Woking marque soon took full control after an incredible weekend in Qatar.

A 1-3 finish in the sprint and a 2-3 finish in the Grand Prix itself catapulted McLaren past Aston Martin and from there neither Norris or Piastri rarely looked back.

Had the MCL60 had the same level of performance all season long, Ferrari and Mercedes may have had a tougher time in the race to second.


2024: Title contention? 

It may be quite a leap to suggest that McLaren will be world title contenders in 2024, but considering the leap in development which Aston Martin made in 2023, nothing can be considered impossible.

Heading into the new campaign, McLaren has two drivers capable of securing pole positions and race wins — despite their lack of experience compared to other line-ups. The MCL60 may have provided a solid foundation on which the team can now build, but bringing effective and regular upgrades may be the difference between championship contention and another midfield run.

Speaking ahead of the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Norris analysed the teams chances of catching Ferrari and Mercedes in the coming seasons:

“We’ve been behind them for two years, they’ve not really taken any steps forward and we’ve taken a massive step forward, and there’s plenty more things that we know we can improve on,” he said. “It’s a good time for us.

“A few more bits of the puzzle to put together but we found the key pieces. We know what direction to go in, so I’m really very proud of the whole team.”


McLaren 2023 F1 driver line-up

Oscar Piastri 2023 McLaren headshot
Lando Norris Oscar Piastri
  • Lando Norris contracted until 2025
  • Oscar Piastri penned extension midway through 2023 campaign, keeping him at McLaren until 2025
  • Pato O’Ward signed as reserve driver for 2024


Key personnel

Zak Brown on 2023 Dutch Grand Prix grid in front of McLaren F1 car

Can Zak Brown lead McLaren back to the top of F1?


CEO: Zak Brown

Motor sport marketing mogul Zak Brown took over McLaren at the end of 2016, and has helped initiate a sea-change in both its F1 performance and overall racing activities.

The team went from almost propping up the grid in 2017 to finishing third in 2020 in what was a remarkable turnaround.

“I would say that the reason why we’re having success today is getting the right people in place: Andreas Seidl [team principal], James Key [technical director], Andrea Stella [racing director and Piers [Thynne, operations director] have done an awesome job and that’s just on the racing side,” Brown told Motor Sport’s ‘My big break’ podcast last year.

As well as expanding the team’s motor sport participation to include IndyCar, Formula E and Extreme E, Brown has managed to draw in sponsors such as British American Tobacco, Google and NEOM to the Woking squad.

The list of names attached to McLaren has come partly through the team remaking its image into one of the most engaging outfits on the grid, partly focused around Norris and its social media output.

Team principal: Andrea Stella

Previously a race engineer for Michael Schumacher, Kimi Räikkönen and Fernando Alonso at Ferrari, Andrea Stella has been McLaren’s executive director of racing since 2019, having initially joined in 2015.

The team will hope the Italian’s appointment is a step which will help it seamlessly move on from Seidl’s departure.

“His move into this role is a great example of the strength in depth we have in our team,” said Brown.

Technical director: James Key

Having spent several years at what is now Aston Martin, James Key became of the youngest ever technical directors of an F1 team when he took charge during its Midland era.

Key stayed at the team as it then transitioned to Spyker and again to Force India.

After holding the same post at both Sauber and Toro Rosso, Key took over technical matters at McLaren in 2018, helping – along with Brown and Seidl – to shift the team back to the sharper end of the grid.