McLaren does not have the third or even fourth quickest car on the grid according to team principal Andreas Seidl, who has set the target of taking the constructors’ championship fight down to the final race of the season.
Four teams are now in contention for third in the constructors’ championship after the Turkish Grand Prix, with Racing Point currently in P3, five points clear of McLaren. Renault are fifth, 18 points off Racing Point, while Ferrari are now six points further back in sixth. Despite a strong recovery drive from both McLaren drivers in Istanbul — where Carlos Sainz finished fifth and Lando Norris eighth with the fastest lap — Seidl says the team only has the fifth quickest car at best, and just wants to still be in with a chance at the final round in Abu Dhabi.
“We definitely don’t have the third or fourth quickest car at the moment in this battle,” Seidl said. “From what we’ve seen now from Ferrari one more good result and suddenly we’re fighting with four teams for this P3, P4, P5 and P6.
“It’s simply important now on our side to focus on ourselves, to see that we can still extract more performance out of the car, especially on Saturdays. It’s important to keep the level of reliability up — so far we have a really great record on our side, on the team’s side this year, not having a single DNF in qualifying and the races, which is a great step forward compared to previous years and shows that the team is putting in a lot of great work back home and at the track.
“It will be important to have clean race weekends, optimize the operation as well in terms of strategy, in terms of pit stops, and together with our two good drivers I think we can keep this battle alive and that is what we will focus on.”
Despite Ferrari entering the frame with three rounds remaining, Seidl says the fact that McLaren has already exceeded last year’s 21-race total of 145 points — scoring 149 from the 17 so far — should not be overshadowed by wherever the team finishes.
“I’m not worried or concerned, I’m just realistic and I know what a team like Ferrari — with all the resources they have — can do. It’s not a surprise they are coming back during the season. We never underestimated this power that Ferrari has — they have two great drivers also and are obviously a great team.
“So that’s the reality we are in, but again it’s simply important to focus on ourselves, to see that we extract the maximum from what we can do with everything we have. We have a competitive car which is a great step forward from last year, we now have more points after this number of races already compared last year, which shows again we made a great step forward with the team; but at the same time we have very strong competitors.
“We just hope we can keep this battle alive until the last race. We will give it our all as a team. I see how committed everyone is inside the team, how great the spirit is in the garage and back home and that gives me a lot of confidence that we can keep this battle alive. At the same time, independent of the outcome of this championship, the most important thing is for me to clearly see that we make progress as a team.”