McLaren claimed third in the constructors’ standings for 2020, however are the team ready to challenge the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull for top spot?
The last two Formula 1 seasons have seen a drastic increase in the McLaren car performance, in turn leading to much improved and positive results in the all-important constructors’ standings.
And while this has come to the relief of McLaren fans around the globe, just how far does the team have to go until they’re fighting for that coveted number one position in the standings?
According to Team Principal Andreas Seidl, McLaren still have some time to wait until they are a legitimate challenge to the top teams.
“I think we need to stay realistic,” Seidl said. “Despite the good result we have this weekend [Abu Dhabi GP] and, despite the great outcome for us in the championship side, with P3, I think we know exactly where we are. There’s still a huge gap to the cars in front, especially the Mercedes car.”
Much of the constructors’ cars will remain unchanged across the grid for 2021, with the new regulations set to come in next year, pushed back until 2022 due to Covid-19. While the new regulations should allow for more competitive racing, it should be expected that 2021 will likely yield similar results across the field as the recently completed 2020 season.
“I think the most important thing is to first of all see that the team this year, under the leadership of James Key, has produced a very competitive car,” Seidl continued. “It is a step forward compared to last year .
“It was great to see also that despite all these challenges in the pandemic that the team kept pushing flat out back home in engineering, and in production, to continuously bring updates to the track, which in the end, kept improving the performance of the car.
“And of course it’s a great finish to the season, knowing that at this track, at this specific event, we had the third fastest car.
“But still, we know what the gap to Mercedes is. It is not something we will close from one year to the next year.
“We still know that we have a lot of deficits within the team in terms of organisation, in terms of infrastructure, which we need to close first.
“But again, we have a clear plan of how we want to reduce these deficits. It will take time. But I’m confident that if we do the right things on the team side, we can close these gaps in some years.”
With McLaren taking Mercedes power onboard for 2021, the team should remain firmly entrenched towards the top of the mid-field. Continuing to push for podium finishes and that elusive P1.