McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl expects James Key’s first car to be an evolution of this year’s design rather than a brand-new offering.
Key joined as technical director from Toro Rosso this year, and McLaren’s 2020 car will be the first he has had a hand in the design of. The current McLaren MCL34 shows a clear step forward after several frustrating seasons and has the team fourth in the constructors’ championship at the mid-season break, and Seidl says it would be a mistake to completely change direction with the next design.
“Obviously it will be the first car under the leadership of James Key, but with the technical regulations staying the same, I would say for us next year it will be more an evolution than a revolution, because we have a good base now,” Seidl said. “We have learned a lot so far with that car, we know what the weaknesses are, and that’s obviously something we want to address for next year.”
Seidl is expecting to see additional progress based on the development plan the 2019 car is presently following – a contrast to 12 months ago, when the team was trying to understand fundamental flaws with its 2018 campaigner.
“Where we think the next step will come in terms of car performance is simply that we started this time – for the first time in quite a while – with normal timing of doing a car,” he said. “We started straight after winter testing with the initial concept phase for next year’s car. That’s different to previous years, and just that fact, together with now having a clear technical director in place, gives me a lot of hope, and I’m optimistic that we can make the next step.
“We still need to be realistic. As I’ve said several times, there is no magic and the gap to the front is still huge, but obviously the aim is to get somewhere in between next year.”