McLaren aims to close in on top three F1 teams in 2020 – Seidl

by James Eagles
Valtteri Bottas, Carlos Sainz Jr. & Lando Norris - Formula 1 - 2019 Hungarian GP

Andreas Seidl has stated that the McLaren F1 Team‘s objective for 2020 is to move away from Formula 1‘s tightly-contested midfield and towards the top three teams.

McLaren’s upturn in form sees the team occupying fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship heading into the second half of the season with 82 points, 39 points ahead of Scuderia Toro Rosso in fifth.

Despite the healthy improvement, McLaren still has a 162-point deficit to third-placed team Red Bull Racing – while runaway championship leader Mercedes AMG Motorsport is a further 164 points clear.

Scuderia Ferrari‘s championship hopes have been dashed through the failure to win a race in the first 12 rounds of the season, with the improving Red Bull in relatively close contention for second place.

Team principal Seidl joined in May as one of the key senior personnel changes at McLaren, alongside new technical director James Key – who had no input on the ’19 car.

Ex-Toro Rosso man Key will have a more central role in the development of the ’20 challenger, with Seidl saying that McLaren wishes to devote its full attention on next year’s car once it is satisfied with the championship situation.

The new McLaren will not be a far cry from the current MCL34 according to Seidl, with the idea that “evolution” is more necessary than a new design philosophy.

“Our ambition is that next year we can go somewhere in-between the gap we are having at the moment, between the top three teams and us,” Seidl told Motorsport.com.

“If you look at the lap times we are somewhere between 1-1.5 seconds away from the top three teams, and our target is to jump somewhere in-between that.

“I would say for us that next year will be an evolution rather than a revolution.

“”We have a good pace now, we learned a lot with that car, we know what the weaknesses are and that is something we want to address for next year.

“For us, where we think the next step will come with car performance is that have we started this time, and it is the first time for a while, with a normal timing of doing a car.”

Seidl admitted that the step forward will not see McLaren challenging Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull before the large shake-up of the regulations for the 2021 season, but will hopefully slot the team in between the top of the midfield and the lead three.

“But we need to be realistic,” he continued. “As I have said many times, there is no magic. The gap to the front is still huge but the aim is to get somewhere in-between next year.

“The key now for the second half of the season will be when to really get to the point where we can switch full focus to next year’s car.

“Obviously results like Hungary [where McLaren finished in fifth and ninth] help us with that decision because one thing is also clear with the performance: the gap to the front is still huge and we clearly have to target to make the next step next year.”

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