Andreas Seidl: McLaren and Lando Norris will return stronger after Russia

Andreas Seidl: McLaren and Lando Norris will return stronger after Russia

McLaren Team Principal, Andreas Seidl, says both McLaren and Lando Norris will learn and bounce back from their Russian Grand Prix disaster.

Andreas Seidl is a team principal that is often able to produce wise words and wisdom after a disappointing race. That calm, cool and collected trend has continued with Seidl after last weekend’s disappointing Russian Grand Prix.

McLaren came so close to bagging back-to-back race wins, with Lando Norris looking like he was going to take his first Formula 1 win at Sochi, backing up from Daniel Ricciardo’s win at Monza the round before. However, F1 can be a cruel temptress, snatching victory from Norris during the final laps of the race.

With a few days now past, investigation and diagnosis are starting to take shape into just where it all went horribly wrong for McLaren. Was Norris lacking the experience to realise he needed to pit for intermediate tyres like veteran teammate Daniel Ricciardo and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton? Should the team have been more forceful in trying to get Norris to box? Was the weather information correctly relayed to Norris, or did the team not predict the eventual downpour? All questions that will be looked into as McLaren debrief prior to the Turkish Grand Prix.

But, while Norris and McLaren team members looked visibly upset after the race, it is something that Seidl believes will only make the Woking outfit stronger on the whole.

“I think it will make him and the team stronger because it’s these moments where you learn the most as a team,” Seidl said to Motorsport.com. “It’s always easier if everything goes to plan. A moment like this is a big disappointment, but an opportunity to learn and to do better as a team together with Lando next time around.

“It’s part of the sport. It’s no different from junior categories where things like this happen and there are big disappointments, especially when he was so close to something really big. But I think he has enough experience, and the team as well, in order to come back out of this even stronger.”

McLaren have gone from strength to strength over the past three seasons, with each year seeing them on the podium more and more. 2021 has been a blockbuster year so far, with the team securing a combined five podium finishes.

They may be a team on the rise, but the expectation for McLaren to compete with Mercedes and Red Bull on a regular basis is still a couple years off. They have demonstrated the MCL35M is a strong competitor on tracks with high-speed sections, however, you just have to look back to Zandvoort to see how much they continue to struggle on circuits where much slower speed comes into play.

“Part of this journey is that you have to accept that it doesn’t always go onwards and upwards,” Seidl continued. “It’s a normal part of the sport. And you have days like this, which was a big disappointment. But it’s also an opportunity to stay humble and to stay both feet on the ground.

“What is important is to keep respect for all your competitors as well, to simply keep learning. And again, with everything that I’m seeing from the team, I’m very, very happy and very confident that once we have everything in place that we need in our journey, we will be in a position to fight Red Bull and Mercedes again regularly.

“And obviously it’s great to see that already now occasionally, depending on the tracks as well, we are actually in a position to fight for pole positions or for a race win.”