Andreas Seidl: McLaren getting the ‘ingredients’ in place to compete in F1

Andreas Seidl: McLaren getting the ‘ingredients’ in place to compete in F1

Coming off McLaren’s historic 1-2 finish at Monza, Andreas Seidl says the team are slowly getting the ingredients together to compete at the front end of Formula 1.

It’s fair to say that since the arrival of Team Principal Andreas Seidl, McLaren have improved by leaps and bounds. No longer the cellar dwellers, the Woking-based team have stepped it up a level each year since 2019.

McLaren scored a woeful 62 points in the constructors’ standings in the 2018 Formula 1 season, although still enough to secure sixth place. 2019 saw the arrival of Seidl at the team, along with a swathe of new changes. Some of those changes included a redesign for the MCL34, as well as organisational restructures and updates to outdated or lacking infrastructure.

2019 saw McLaren finish fourth in the constructor’s with 145 points, more than doubling the previous years. It would be the highest result for the team since 2012 where they finished third. Carlos Sainz would also finish on the podium at the Brazilian Grand Prix, the first since 2014. A change to Mercedes power units that would come into effect from 2021 was also announced.

Move forward another year to 2020 and McLaren took another step forward. Finishing ‘best of the rest’, with another jump in points to 202, while also finishing twice on the podium. The team also secured the services of Daniel Ricciardo for the 2021 season and beyond.

So what of 2021? McLaren have already scored 215 points and currently sit third, after a continued battle with Ferrari for the position. They have chalked up five podiums, including their first win since 2012, and first 1-2 finish since 2010.

As they continue to move back towards the top of F1, Seidl says it was important to put everything on the table when he arrived. Looking into the weaknesses of the team and how they could be resolved.

“I think one of the key things was really to clearly put on the table where we see the weaknesses in the team compared to the top teams,” Seidl said. “Put it on the table in all transparency and honesty as well and I think that is what we did two and a half years ago. We worked out then based on a clear plan of how we want to reduce or eliminate these deficits that we have seen compared to other teams speed on the infrastructure side but also on the organization side in terms of structure in terms of how we work together.

“It’s great to see these changes that we made are paying off already. But it is important to realize at the same time that we still have a long way to go. We shouldn’t forget that only a week ago in Zandvoort we got completely destroyed by the competition, but we’re definitely heading in the right way. We have a great team with great talented people with a great spirit and two great drivers. I think step by step we are getting all the ingredients in place that we need in order to get back to the front end of Formula 1 in some years.”

While McLaren are likely still several years away from competing for the championship, they have already proved in 2021 they are capable of landing on the podium, and winning.

However, as the team continue somewhat of a resurgence, the atmosphere around the MTC has drastically increased, according to Seidl.

“When we came back after the race to the MTC, doing the rounds through production and engineering, you could just feel how happy people were,” said Seidl. “I mean it has been awhile for this team, having a victory or a one-two, it’s simply great to see that. Because in the end, everyone is putting so much effort in, so much work behind, and then getting a report like that. A victory or a one-two in Monza after so many years is great and that’s also what I like. And that’s what drives me out of bed, is when I see the guys in the garage smiling or the people here in the MTC.”

Heading into 2021, high expectations were held for McLaren. With a new driver in Ricciardo, along with a new Mercedes engine, just how would the team perform? Lando Norris has shown he has the potential to be a future champion, leading the team to score the bulk of the points and podiums.

While Ricciardo, after a slow start, looks to have finally found his footing. The Australian has stepped it up since the summer break. Looking in sync with the car at Spa, and out qualifying Norris at Zandvoort.

His win at Monza will provide an added increase to his confidence, which couldn’t have come at a better time. Heading towards the backend of the season, McLaren need both of their drivers to be contributing to the points. As the fight for third place in the Constructors’ Championship continues to rage with the Scuderia.

“I’m obviously very happy with the driver line-up here,” Seidl continued. “It is great to see what Lando is pulling off this season and especially in the time where Daniel was still struggling with our car, it was important that he was delivering that performance because we all know how the sport works. If Lando would have struggled as well, you quickly question the entire operation or the core performance.

“Then with Daniel we knew and we were convinced all the time that it is just a matter of time when it clicks. And it was great to see how he came back after the summer break and how he was performing already from Spa onwards. Then pulling off an event like he did in Monza was just a confirmation that we went for the right guy for the right reasons.”