Gil de Ferran says there are positives for the McLaren F1 Team to take away from the Australian Grand Prix even though they left Albert Park as one of only two teams not to score a point.
Carlos Sainz Jr. was an early retirement on his McLaren debut following his switch from the Renault F1 Team due to a suspected MGU-K failure, while Lando Norris could only finish twelfth on his Grand Prix debut thanks to being unable to pass Antonio Giovinazzi following his pit stop and losing time to those who ran longer on the harder tyres.
De Ferran, the Sporting Director of the Woking-based squad, says there is a distinct disappointment that the promise shown earlier in the weekend was not realised in the final result, particularly with Norris having started eighth and the Briton having run inside the points until his pit stop.
“Overall, I must admit that, although there were several positives to draw from this weekend in general, we come away from the Australian Grand Prix a little disappointed,” said de Ferran. “Carlos had a good start, but unfortunately had to retire with an early mechanical failure.
“On Lando’s side, the race was going well early on, until he was held up in traffic for some laps, which sealed his result outside the points. On the positive side, I’m pleased that Lando was able to put up a fighting performance in his début grand prix and see the chequered flag.”
De Ferran says his pre-season prediction of a close midfield battle was proved to be correct, at least in Australia, and it could just take a small improvement in the pace of the MCL34 could have a big impact on their standing in the Bahrain Grand Prix later this month.
“As predicted, it’s clear that several teams are in a tight battle, including ourselves, so any small improvements in our pace and execution can have a significant impact on our ranking,” said de Ferran. “So, head down, and onwards to Bahrain.”