McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl says 2018 drivers Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne deserve credit for their part in the team’s turnaround this season.
A strong start to last year gave way to a poor second half of the season, when McLaren scored just 10 of its total of 62 points after the summer break. With an all new driver line-up in Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris, the team is now fourth in the constructors’ championship and has shown even stronger performance in the past two races, and Seidl says the hard work put in last year is paying off.
“I think no-one inside the team last year expected that we could make such a step after finishing the season as the ninth fastest car,” Seidl said. “It simply shows that a lot of the changes that have been triggered already last year are paying off.
“The team did a good job in bringing these cars, this year’s car on track. They understood a lot. Also with the input from the drivers from last year. I think we should also pay a lot of credit to Fernando and Stoffel, pointing out what the weaknesses are and which direction they had to develop the car, which pays off now.
“And now, obviously the target this year is for us to still keep going with the development of the car. Of course now we want to make sure we can keep this position for a while. But still we have seen it can also change quickly again. It’s still a tight battle. I mean the gaps that we had (in Austria), it’s nothing over a race distance. So it’s important to not get too excited about it; to keep our head down, and keep focusing on the weaknesses we still have on the car.”
Although McLaren was clearly the fourth-quickest car at both Paul Ricard and the Red Bull Ring, Seidl says he does not yet enter every race weekend with the confidence that will remain the case.
“We have seen (in Austria), apart from us – we were somehow consistent – but for the rest of the midfield teams, as we have seen in several races this year, it’s suddenly completely the opposite.
“So we are still very careful and don’t get too excited, because it could happen also to us. We are also not at the point yet that we have this confidence a top team has, where you say, race track by race track ‘We will nail it again’.”