McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl says his team’s main focus is now to be aggressive with its car development because it has proven it can compete with the top three in other areas.
Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz finished sixth and eighth respectively in the Austrian Grand Prix to extend McLaren’s advantage over fifth-placed Renault in the constructors’ championship to 20 points. Sainz climbed from the back of the grid, while Norris pulled off a long second stint on the medium tire on a day where McLaren performed impressively from an operational point of view, and Seidl says the team simply needs to find more car pace compared to Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.
“The most important thing for me is to have continuous development, see continuous improvement as a team back home, and out here,” Seidl said. “I mean, it’s important that we also take our time to make sure we go into detail in terms of the methods, tools and everything we are using to develop this stuff. Because that’s the foundation in the end for an aggressive development which is required, especially when you have a gap like we have.
“You need to build up this confidence again inside the team. But also brave enough to take, let’s say, risky or adventurous concept decisions. That’s something that other teams with a lot of experience and confidence, like Mercedes, can do.
“It’s important to also be showing in categories like pits stops, race strategy, that we can take the fight with the big ones, because it’s clear that that’s had a gap on the performance side, and that’s something that will take time.
Seidl said McLaren has already shown signs of progress in terms of car development, attributing initial results this season to team performance rather than how competitive the chassis was.
“I think, now, in the last two races, we also had the fourth fastest car, so I think we deserve to be in P4 now in the constructors’ championship,” he said. “But up to Paul Ricard race, we have to be honest, we didn’t have the fourth-fastest car. We were always somewhere between fifth- and seventh-fastest car.
“And in the end we got the results because we had, well, we were in P4 because we had better reliability, better strategy, better pit stops, better understanding of the tires, I would also say. Obviously I was impressed by that, and it shows that we’re very good already in some disciplines, and the biggest topic we have to focus on is simply the car development.”