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Inside McLaren: Chief Andrea Stella’s Vision For Sustained Momentum

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McLaren enters 2024 optimistic that they have continued their good growth from last year but are concerned about Red Bull’s potential performance.

Lando Norris gained more points than any other driver last season, except Max Verstappen, after McLaren improved their chassis for the Austrian Grand Prix in July.

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella stated that his team has “not seen diminishing returns” in developing their new car.

However, he fears the same will apply to the dominant champion, Red Bull.

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Inside McLaren: Chief Andrea Stella’s Vision For Sustained Momentum

“Red Bull should be extremely competitive and we will see where we are and what kind of challenge we will be able to set on track,” she said.

Last year, Red Bull and Verstappen had the most dominant season in Formula One.

The Dutchman won 19 of the 22 races, with Sergio Perez taking two of the remaining three.

McLaren began 2023 as one of the slowest cars in the field, but by the second half of the season, it had emerged as a prominent contender behind Red Bull, thanks to a highly effective development strategy.

And McLaren believes that, while their new vehicle looks good, Red Bull will make at least as much progress with their new design.

Speaking at an event to debut McLaren’s 2024 livery, Stella said the team was able to build on the significant progress made in Austria and a following big improvement in Singapore in September.

“The gradient we established last year that led to the Austria and Singapore development, it seems like we can maintain it,” she added.

“In the background, we are already working on other advancements that we plan to release very soon throughout the season, and they appear to be extremely fascinating.

“In terms of the regulations themselves and the development at McLaren, we seem like a linear gradient of development can be maintained.”

However, he pointed out that Red Bull stopped improving last year’s car unusually early in the season, which could be a bad sign for their 2024 performance.

“Competitiveness on track depends on what the opposition has done,” she remarked. “When we consider Red Bull, one factor raises concerns about what will happen in 2024: they have yet to significantly develop their automobile.

mclaren

Inside McLaren: Chief Andrea Stella’s Vision For Sustained Momentum

“So, have they cashed in, gathered developments, and will they capitalise on the next year’s car? Here’s my theory.

“I can’t believe Red Bull was not in a position to create their car. They may have decided not to deliver improvements, but this could indicate that their [development] gradient has continued.”

McLaren enters 2024 with one of the strongest driver lineups on the field, featuring Australian Oscar Piastri alongside Norris.

In an outstanding maiden season, Piastri won the sprint race at the Qatar Grand Prix, becoming the first F1 driver before Norris, and signed a contract extension with McLaren until the end of 2026.

Norris’ contract ends a year before that, and McLaren is determined to extend it with the British driver.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown stated, “My primary role is to put the right people in place and provide him with the necessary resources and support.” That’s Andrea and the entire squad.

“When you want to win the World Championship again, you need management, technology, infrastructure, and two grand prix drivers. We have all of these in place.

“We have Lando under contract for another few years. Of course, we have a continuous dialogue with him.

“He is starting to think through [his future], as we are – 2026 is not far away and we recognise that being able to retain Lando and Oscar is a key element and something that is a high priority for us.”

Brown returned to an issue he has discussed several times recently, voicing worries over Red Bull’s connection with their young team.

The season-long rebranding of Alpha Tauri, who will reveal their new identity in the upcoming weeks, is leading them to a situation in which they are taking as many parts for their vehicle as is legal.

mclaren

Inside McLaren: Chief Andrea Stella’s Vision For Sustained Momentum

While this is comparable to Haas’ arrangement with Ferrari in 2016, Brown is concerned that their second team may gain an unforeseen edge given Red Bull’s dominance and the budget limitation that limits every team’s investment.

“I’m concerned over the Alpha Tauri-Red Bull alliance,” he remarked. “Alpha Tauri is, from what I gather, heading to the United Kingdom, which will assist both teams. This A/B squad and co-ownership raises serious concerns about the sport’s health and fairness.

“When these rules were implemented, the sport was in a different place. There was a significant divide between folks like us, who had large budgets, and the smaller teams. And now everyone is almost near the cap, if not already there.

“So everyone is playing with the same size bat, to use a baseball analogy, and hence [sharing parts] is unnecessary. However, it may provide someone with an unfair edge, and as a sport, we must address this issue as soon as possible.

“I would like to see us focus on that as an industry before it gets to where F1 once was, which is very out of balance because people are playing by the rules but a different set of rules.”

SOURCE – (BBC)

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AI Chip Firm Nvidia Valued At $2tn

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Nvidia’s market value has reached $2 trillion (£1.58 trillion), marking a new milestone in the chipmaker’s meteoric rise to the ranks of the world’s most valuable corporations.

Shares of the Silicon Valley corporation gained more than 4% in opening trading on Friday before falling slightly.

The gains built on the company’s impressive earnings announcement earlier this week.

nvidia

AI Chip Firm Nvidia Valued At $2tn

The company is profiting from improvements in artificial intelligence (AI), which has boosted demand for its processors.

The company’s turnover doubled last year to more than $60 billion, and CEO Jensen Huang told investors this week that demand was “surging” worldwide.

The corporation, which became worth $1 trillion less than a year ago, is now the world’s fourth most valuable publicly traded company, trailing Microsoft, Apple, and Saudi Aramco.

nvidia

AI Chip Firm Nvidia Valued At $2tn

After shares fell from their early Friday highs, the company’s market capitalization ended the day just under $2 trillion.

Nvidia was founded in 1993 and was originally recognized for producing computer processors that processed images, primarily for computer games.

Long before the AI revolution, it began adding capabilities to its chips that it claims to aid in machine learning, which has helped it acquire market dominance.

It is currently regarded as a vital company to monitor how quickly AI-powered technology spreads throughout the commercial world.

The firm’s stock price has more than tripled the previous year, from less than $240 per share to about $800 in midday trading on Friday.

On Thursday, the day after its earnings release, purchasers snapped up shares, boosting its value by $277 billion, the greatest one-day rise in Wall Street history.

He research has also contributed to a larger market rise, appearing to persuade investors that, as Derren Nathan of Hargreaves Lansdown put it, the AI boom is “living up to the hype”.

nvidia

AI Chip Firm Nvidia Valued At $2tn

“It’s being used in automotive for design, in telecommunications for network planning, and in mainstream companies to figure out and get insights into data that they haven’t been able to get before,” Bob
O’Donnell, a technology analyst based in the United States, told the BBC earlier this week.

“This is now really starting to hit the kinds of companies across the board, not just specialized tech companies and that’s a real tipping point for the industry.”

SOURCE – (BBC)

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The Tesla Cybertruck Is Impressive And Worrying

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There was a time when an electric Tesla truck, built to compete with America’s most popular goods, the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado, appeared to be the perfect way to propel Tesla into the mainstream.

Then, in 2019, Elon Musk revealed the Tesla Cybertruck, a bare metal box with wheels. It is the furthest thing from the mainstream. This truck has ardent fans and much more ardent detractors. However, it has good towing and hauling capabilities despite its edgy design limiting its usability. For some clients, the sacrifice is unquestionably worthwhile.

However, it is possible that Ford and GM are overly concerned.

If it’s a popularity contest, they win. Even after I put a rented Tesla Cybertruck next to a hot-pink McLaren supercar in a shopping centre parking lot in California, the McLaren drivers couldn’t stop chatting about the Cybertruck. The large, bright silver truck drew a crowd everywhere I went, attracting both young people waiting to see one in person and others, usually older, who had no idea what it was.

cybertruck

The Tesla Cybertruck Is Impressive And Worrying

The Tesla Cybertruck resembles nothing else on the road. Its size, which is not quite as long as a Ford F-150 but appears even larger, is also striking. Of course, once the Cybertruck has been on the market for a time, its appeal will fade.

There’s much to enjoy about the Cybertruck, but it also represents a terrible amount of personal arrogance in cold, unforgiving steel. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, has prioritized design and technical goals over customer needs and concerns for other drivers’ safety. As Walter Isaacson’s latest biography of Musk explains, Musk’s obsession with this structure, built from the same steel SpaceX uses for rockets, resulted in the rectilinear mass of naked metal that I was driving through the southern California hills.

It was the most enjoyable electric truck I’d ever driven. I’ve driven practically all of the other electric trucks on the market, including Fords and Rivian, and I don’t anticipate any of them outperforming Cybertruck’s sports-car-like performance. Normally, it is not a priority in a pickup. It has exceptional acceleration and steering that feels quick, sensitive, and agile. Its powerful acceleration, fast steering, and custom-designed Goodyear truck tyres reminded me of driving the Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato, a high-performance sports vehicle outfitted with off-road tyres and higher suspension. However, the Cybertruck is significantly larger and heavier.

Even a light tap on the accelerator swiftly pushed everyone else behind. With its drive-by-wire steering system, a tiny turn of its small, rectangular steering wheel produced tight bends at lower speeds, but it was easy to keep the truck in its lane at greater speeds. With four-wheel steering, it can turn around in a smaller area than one may imagine.

Tesla did not provide CNN with a Cybertruck for testing. Instead, we rented one for more than $1,000 daily from Turo, a-to-peer vehicle rental service. (Turo does not determine the rates; vehicle owners do, and Cybertruck charges have decreased slightly since then.) My Turo host guided me through the Cybertruck’s several unusual controls – by non-Tesla standards.

Instead of a stalk, steering wheel buttons control the turn signals. (Again, this is comparable to a Lamborghini or Ferrari.) I swiped up and down on a truck icon on the centre screen to shift the truck into drive or reverse. (If the screen ever goes blank, there is a row of gear selector buttons on the ceiling, right over the windscreen.) And I had to hunt around on the touchscreen to find the control for the Cybertruck’s single massive windscreen wiper. Everything made sense after driving the vehicle for an hour.

So, what’s with the rearview mirror?
It features a rearview mirror on the windscreen, but it is largely ineffective. With the bed cover closed, nothing is visible from the back window.

Many current SUVs include rearview mirrors that double as video screens, displaying a view from a camera installed in the rear. Tesla could have employed a comparable technology but didn’t. The Cybertruck’s back video view is presented in a small rectangle on the truck’s centre screen. It’s always there while you’re driving.

cybertruck

The Tesla Cybertruck Is Impressive And Worrying

This seemingly trivial element reveals Tesla’s approach to car controls. The only justification for having the rearview video display within the rearview mirror is that this is where drivers are accustomed to viewing. Similarly, the only purpose for a turn signal stalk is because it is what people expect. For better or worse, Tesla is okay with what you’re used to.

There are indicators that this mentality contributes to greater crash rates, yet if Tesla were designing a vehicle from the start, the unusual choices would be entirely understandable.

Then there’s the Cybertruck’s unusual shape. Other firms have been producing pickup trucks for well over a century, and there are reasons why they are rarely shaped like wedges. In this case, the Cybertruck’s obvious and unnecessary desire to stand out is a hindrance.

Not suitable for freight.
If you load the cargo bed in the Cybertruck and decide you want to reach anything in the front or back window, you’ll need to begin unpacking. It is not accessible by reaching over the side of the bed. The side wall is too high.

Unlike other large trucks, the Cybertruck has nowhere to put your foot to help you reach over the cargo bed’s edge to save the back tyre, which may be sticky with mud and filth. There isn’t even much room to stand on the rear bumper.

The “frunk,” or front trunk, is a rather ineffective afterthought compared to the one on the Ford F-150 Lightning. Ford’s is just larger and has plenty of power outlets, making it a truly useful office. The Cybertruck is useful as a place to sit. However, there is a reasonably sized storage bin.

For now, the Cybertruck is also more expensive than the Lightning. The Foundation Series truck that I drove cost more than $100,000. It will be next year before Tesla says it will begin building trucks for under $60,000.

Most problematic, however, is the manufacturing quality. The cabin is relatively good, although spartan, but that’s the easy part, especially because Tesla eliminates most switches. The difficult element is creating a body from stainless steel, particularly one with relatively straight edges that do not conceal misalignments.

Body panel alignments are primarily cosmetic in most automobiles and trucks. Having large, irregular gaps between different body portions does not look nice. However, most automobiles are not composed of thick, hard-edged stainless steel. Our Cybertruck’s front corners had openings large enough to see daylight through and hard edges protruding from the body.

cybertruck

The Tesla Cybertruck Is Impressive And Worrying

I was concerned that if this vehicle collided with a pedestrian or if someone slid while climbing over the bedside, the unforgiving metal might inflict serious injury. It’s not knife-edged, but it appears to rip through the skin when it hits soft flesh with enough force. I emailed Tesla to see if they had any issues, but I am still awaiting a response. Tesla has been waiting to respond to CNN’s questions for years.

This is not a truck that customers will buy in large numbers, and it’s not simply because Tesla still needs to produce them. It’s entertaining and engaging, but there’s little need to acquire this instead of something more ordinary and useful for those who want to get the job done. It doesn’t do much better – or at least anything significant – than a Ford F-150 Lightning or a Chevrolet Silverado EV, and it will undoubtedly be worse in several critical respects.

If you want to attract a crowd, this is your ride. At least as long as the novelty lasts.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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In His Annual Letter, Warren Buffett Tells Investors To Ignore Wall Street Pundits

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OMAHA, Nebraska – Warren Buffett credited his longtime partner, the late Charlie Munger, with creating the Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate he is credited with leading, and warned shareholders in his annual letter on Saturday not to listen to Wall Street pundits or financial advisors who advise them to trade frequently.

Buffett said he always writes his letters with knowledgeable, long-term investors in mind, such as his sister Bertie, and attempts to give them what he believes they want to know about Berkshire.

“She is sensible – very sensible – instinctively knowing that pundits should always be ignored,” Buffett wrote about Bertie. “After all, if she could accurately forecast tomorrow’s winners, would she openly share her unique insights, increasing competitive buying? That would be like discovering gold and then throwing out a map to the neighbours indicating its whereabouts.”

Buffett told investors that Berkshire is a safe place to park their money as long as they don’t expect “eye-popping performance” like in the past because there are no attractively priced acquisition targets large enough to make a meaningful difference in the Omaha, Nebraska-based company’s results. However, he stated that Berkshire would be ready to invest $167.6 billion when the casino-like stock market seizes.

Munger, Buffett’s longtime investing partner, died in November at the age of 99, removing one of the key sounding boards Buffett relied on for decades as Berkshire acquired companies such as See’s Candy, Geico Insurance, BNSF Railway and others to reshape the failing textile mill they took over in the 1960s into the massive eclectic conglomerate Berkshire is today.

buffett

In His Annual Letter, Warren Buffett Tells Investors To Ignore Wall Street Pundits

Buffett devoted a portion of last year’s annual letter to Berkshire shareholders to an homage to Munger, but this year’s edition began with even more appreciation for the revered curmudgeon’s services to the company over the years. Buffett stated that “Charlie was the ‘architect’ of the present Berkshire”, who recognised early on that buying excellent enterprises at reasonable rates was preferable.

“Charlie never sought to take credit for his role as creator but instead let me take the bows and receive the accolades,” Buffett said in a statement. “In some ways, his connection with me was like that of an elder brother and a caring father. Even when he knew he was correct, he handed me the reins, and when I made a mistake, he never reminded me of it.”

buffett

In His Annual Letter, Warren Buffett Tells Investors To Ignore Wall Street Pundits

Buffett also discussed how Berkshire’s insurance businesses, such as Geico, excelled last year, but its enormous utilities and BNSF railway underperformed. He also informed shareholders that he has no plans to sell its shares in approximately 30% of Occidental Petroleum and 9% of five significant Japanese trading companies but that he has yet to buy the oil company completely.

Berkshire’s diverse portfolio of operations and the good performance of its investments generated a profit of $37.57 billion, or $26,043 per Class A share, in the fourth quarter. This is more than double Berkshire’s $18.08 billion profit, or $12,355 per Class A share, posted a year ago.

However, Buffett emphasised that investors should mainly overlook such bottom-line figures since the paper worth of its stocks heavily influences them. Instead, he has always encouraged investors to focus on Berkshire’s operating earnings, which exclude investments.

By that metric, Berkshire reported a 28% increase in operating earnings to $8.48 billion, or $5,878.21 per Class A share. This is up from $6.63 billion, or $4,527.06 per Class A share.

buffett

In His Annual Letter, Warren Buffett Tells Investors To Ignore Wall Street Pundits

FactSet Research questioned three analysts, and they expected that Berkshire would report quarterly operating earnings of $5,717,17 per Class A share.

Berkshire’s stock has established several new peaks in recent weeks, reaching $632,820 per Class A share Friday morning as investors eagerly awaited Buffett’s letter. Buffett is admired for his extremely successful track record and the wise advice he has given over the years. His yearly letter is consistently one of the most-read papers in the corporate sector.

Berkshire also repurchased $2.2 billion of its stock in the fourth quarter, bringing the total to $9.2 billion for the year.

SOURCE – (AP)

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