McLaren is still underperforming as a Formula 1 team based on its facilities and resources despite a strong 2019 so far, according to team principal Andreas Seidl.
The first race of the turbo hybrid era in 2014 remains McLaren’s last podium, while the team has not won a grand prix since the end of 2012. Last year saw the team fade after a solid start to the season and often struggle to get out of Q1, and while the improvement this year has been impressive — the team currently sits fourth in the constructors’ championship — Seidl says McLaren has the infrastructure to be much closer to the top three teams.
“It was always clear for me that McLaren is an established racing team,” Seidl told RACER. “There’s a lot of talent, a lot of commitment which I saw straight away from the first day on it. There’s a good infrastructure in the MTC (McLaren Technology Centre) and this combined with the results that have been there from winter testing this year, gave this positive atmosphere or spirit which was inside the team from day one onwards when I started, which made it a lot easier for me to get started.
“That was good to see, which was also proof that the changes that Zak (Brown) had initiated already last year are paying off. They have nothing to do with me and now it’s simply down to me — together with James (Key) and my leading guys — to work out the clear plan and to send it to Zak, how I want approach the next years. The 2021 regulations, obviously, play an important role as well.
“At the same time, I think it’s also important not to look for excuses in terms of regulations, budget, headcount, infrastructure and so on. I think, with what we have right now at the MTC or within McLaren with the budget we are having, we have to do better.
“I think that’s also clear for all of us and that’s really what drives us out of bed every morning. But it’s encouraging to see that we have this continuous improvement at the moment.”
A McLaren has finished in the top six in four of the past five races, and with both Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris contributing to those results, Seidl has confidence the driver pairing are capable of fighting for higher positions.
“We keep understanding the car better and better race by race. The drivers are doing a sensational job. I think we have a great line-up with these two guys, that can develop towards being top drivers in the future — hopefully together with us. We obviously have to give them also a car in the future that they can fight it out on track, hopefully with the guys at the front.”