McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl is willing to give up fourth place in Formula 1’s constructors’ championship in order to make a bigger step in performance next season.
Renault scored 22 points in Italy to close the gap to McLaren in the constructors’ standings, with the pair now separated by 18 points. Although McLaren had looked comfortable in fourth place prior to the summer break, a return of one point from the last two races has increased the pressure somewhat, but Seidl says he will not let the team lose sight of its 2020 plans despite Renault’s result at Monza.
“We plan to bring parts — not huge updates but just continuously bringing small things — for the next two or three races at least,” Seidl said. “We just have to see when we fully switch then to next year’s car and the development side. It’s still something which is open.
“Of course we want to fight for this P4 as long as possible but at the same time, for me it’s a lot more important to make the next step with next year’s car. So I don’t want to compromise next year by suddenly switching the focus on this year again. We have a plan in place for what we want to do this year, we have a plan in place for how we approach next year.”
McLaren could have limited Renault’s gains by picking up more significant points itself in Monza but Carlos Sainz retired from sixth place due to a pit stop error.
“It was a messy tire change at the front right corner which then led to the wheel not being fully tight and we realized straight after that we had to abort the car,” Seidl related. “Unfortunately these things happen.
“Even so, compared to last year I think we’ve made a great step forward in terms of pit stops and so on as a team — we had great races where we made points and overtook people by doing good pit stops. So it’s important to analyze in detail what happened and then make a reset.
“The Renault pace was as we had expected it. I think with Carlos’ race it went as expected, so we were set for a P6 which would have been damage limitation, because we have seen in Spa and Monza we were struggling with the low-downforce package in terms of keeping up with Renault.
“It’s obviously disappointing that we go away with only one point and with Renault scoring so many points. Hopefully with putting more downforce on we are back to where we were before the shutdown in terms of being competitive.”