McLaren team principal regrets the points lost in last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix as a missed chance to capitalize on Ferrari’s bad weekend, and expects the Scuderia to strike back in this season’s constructors’ championship battle.
Carlos Sainz failed to start from seventh on the grid after a power unit problem led to an exhaust failure on his reconnaissance laps before the race, leaving Lando Norris as the sole McLaren in the field. Norris recovered from a poor start to finish seventh and move the team back up to third in the constructors’ standings, but Seidl was frustrated by the missed opportunity.
“With the issue we had on Carlos’ car, and then lap one on Lando’s side he lost a few positions, so it was damage limitation,” Seidl said. “We have seen throughout the season that if you are stuck in traffic behind cars that you would be quicker than, it compromises your race quite a lot. We saw as soon as Lando had free air we actually had very good pace in the car. That was shown by how quickly Lando caught the cars in front.
“It’s good to see and encouraging that we go away from here seeing that we have a decent car in low downforce, a competitive car, and I think we weren’t far off fighting the Renaults. Daniel (Ricciardo) had a great weekend and put in a great performance, which wasn’t a surprise as Renault was strong (in Belgium) last year also, so it seems like the track suits their car characteristics quite a bit.
“We also expect them to be very strong in Monza because they were strong there last year too, but looking at ourselves last year, we didn’t manage to get into Q3 with our cars here, so I’m quite happy with the step we could make with the car. It’s just a shame that it’s a certain degree of a missed opportunity because we could have had two cars in good positions to score very important points, which is obviously disappointing.
“The pace of the car was quite encouraging and we could actually take points away from the Racing Points and the Ferraris. We are back now in P3 in the constructors’ championship, which is good. Looking ahead, it’s good to see that we have a car with which we can fight with all these teams around us, which we’ve seen can depend on different track characteristics and layouts. It’s good to be in this fight and two drivers where we can take up this fight.”
Although Seidl was encouraged by McLaren’s pace at Spa-Francorchamps, he believes the team needs to make the most of its opportunities to score because he is expecting a response from Ferrari after Monza.
“With what we know from last year plus, what we have seen (at Spa), I think we are in a good position again to fight for Q3, which then offers a good position for Sunday afternoon to fight for good points,” he said. “I expect to be close again with the Racing Points and the Renaults, and everything we can take away from here – and reading the comments from Ferrari – I think they will struggle there as well.
“So hopefully Monza gives us an opportunity to score more points than we did (in Spa), and give us another good opportunity to score some good points compared to some of the competitors who will be stronger again at other tracks. It’s also important – and it’s something that we never do – that we don’t underestimate the ability of Ferrari to strike back during the course of the season.
“With all the experience they have, the manpower, the infrastructure, I’m sure it will only be a question of time when they will strike back again as well. That’s why it hurts even more that we didn’t collect more points (on Sunday).”