McLaren is capable of fighting Ferrari right up to the final race of the season despite the improving form of the Scuderia, according to team principal Andreas Seidl.
Ferrari has scored podiums at each of the last two races, with Charles Leclerc coming close to victory at Silverstone and Carlos Sainz promoted from fourth to third in Hungary following a penalty to Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel. The results came after two poles for Ferrari, which shows the potential it has at specific circuits. However, after seeing Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo taken out of promising positions in Budapest, Seidl is confident the fight for third will go to the wire.
“I think it’s an open battle as we’ve seen throughout the first half of the season,” Seidl said. “I have to say, (Hungary) didn’t go to plan but there was nothing we could control. But for us, it was encouraging to see that we could actually battle Ferrari on a track like that (in qualifying) because that’s something we didn’t expect.
“I look at the first races this season on similar tracks where we couldn’t go their pace, so that speaks also for the good work people have been doing back home on the development side; continuously improving the car, which is encouraging for the second half of the season.
“But it is also clear that Ferrari is obviously a very strong team, very experienced, it has everything in place that it needs to have a strong second half of the season. They have two top drivers, which is why we need to be on our A-game in all aspects of going racing if you want to compete with them. But again, as we have seen in the last two and half years now within the team, it’s encouraging and I think we have everything in our hands to battle it out until the last race.”
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) August 16, 2021
McLaren’s executive director of racing, Andrea Stella, mentioned there will also be some further updates coming to the car this year to help the team remain competitive in its battle with Ferrari, following the introduction of new parts in Hungary.
“They will not be the last upgrades of the season simply because when you release upgrades then it takes some time to produce them and land trackside, so there will be a few more,” Stella said. “Also in Formula 1, you always keep acquiring some information once you test the parts trackside because you never get the perfect correlation with the development tools.
“So once you test some upgrades trackside you normally get some information for further fine-tuning that doesn’t necessarily require going past the wind tunnel, you can simply adapt based on some runs in CFD for example associated with what we learned by testing parts trackside. So the upgrade in Hungary will not be the last one, there will be some more tweaks that will be tested in future races. Nothing major, but some further will come.”