It did not take long for McLaren’s new team principal Andreas Seidl did not take long to establish what the paddock already knew, namely that the gap to the pace-setting Mercedes team is around two seconds per lap when all the ponies are set free.
After taking stock at recent races, Seidl concluded, “What is obvious, we are missing is 1.5 to 2.0 seconds. This means that if you put it into perspective with the budget we have, with the infrastructure, we have to do better overall. That’s the mission right now.”
With a full mandate from team CEO Zak Brown, who declared recently: “It’s his racing team to run.”
Seidl’s task to reduce the gap to the top is clear, “I first need to understand the organisation entirely. Then make my mind up how to structure this project in the future.”
“It’s important also to get the 2021 regulations because they will affect the overall set-up of the team for the future. Then it’s down to me, together with Zak, to work out this mission and how we want to approach these next years.”
43-year-old Seidl has pedigree with big racing organisations having headed Porsche’s impressive WEC programme after a spell in charge of BMW’s DTM project. Each time the German made champions of the teams he led.
He acknowledged, “For sure I can use the experiences I have made in different categories. I think the fundamental points that you need to have in place in order to have a successful organisation are the same, it doesn’t matter if it is a GT racing programme, an LMP programme or F1.”
“Overall, the projects I have been involved in the past, they were also ‘works’ programmes. Big programmes with big budgets. So I am convinced I can bring a lot of experience towards McLaren and apply them.”
“At the same time, it is also important to take my time now and respect what is in place. There are a lot of good things. People are committed, there is a lot of talent,” added Seidl.
Big Question: Is Andreas the man who will return McLaren to glory?