McLaren is starting to reap the benefits of its rebuilding efforts even if it retains loftier aspirations in Formula 1, says team principal Andreas Seidl.
Currently third in the constructor’s championship, the Woking outfit has managed to build on an already encouraging fourth-placed finish in 2019, despite some stiff competition from the likes of Racing Point, Renault and Ferrari.
Speaking to Auto Motor und Sport, Seidl did not try to hide his satisfaction with his team’s progress, although he maintains they will face an uphill fight to retain P3 by season’s end.
“We have taken the next step as a team and with the car,” he said. “We are third in the championship. We didn’t expect that before the season.
“At the same time we are aware that we have a lot of points where we need to improve. The benchmark is Mercedes. We have clear deficits, both operationally and with the car, which we know.
“We will not be blinded by the good results. On average, we have the fourth-best car in terms of vehicle performance. That is a step forward compared to 2019, when we came fourth, but on average we had the fifth fastest car.”
With points at every race and two podiums to their name, McLaren have been one of F1’s most consistent performers, which Seidl acknowledges has so far set them apart from their midfield rivals.
“We have a car with which we have always been able to drive into Q3, regardless of the type of track,” he explained.
“We can always score good points on Sunday. Renault and Ferrari have more marked variations in their performance. That shows that we have a good basis with our car.
“Our drivers always deliver when it counts. We also made progress on the racing strategy and its implementation together with the drivers – who do a great job at the race starts, when it comes to overtaking, who make no mistakes.
“We have made a huge improvement in reliability. In 2019 we had a few issues – both on the team and the driver side. So far we’ve only had one failure. The hard work over the winter has paid off.”
Nevertheless, Seidl stresses there is more work to be done developing the MCL35.
“Our biggest weak point is still the slow corners. That’s where we lose most of the time compared to the competition.
“We are working on it – both on the aerodynamic and the mechanical side.”