McLaren’s Seidl on Double Spa Retirement: “We lost a great opportunity to score good points”

by Paul Hensby

For only the fourth time in 2019 and the first time since the Canadian Grand Prix in June, the McLaren F1 Team left a Grand Prix without a point, with both Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lando Norris retiring from Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Sainz’s race was over before it really began, suffering technical issues over the first couple of laps that ended with him out of the event at the end of the second lap, but Norris was on course for a fifth place finish but for another engine related issue to curtail his afternoon with just one lap remaining.

Andreas Seidl, the Team Principal of McLaren, says that despite the negative of the double retirement, there were positives to take away from Spa-Francorchamps, especially with Norris showing good pace to run fifth on merit, well clear of the chasing pack before his unfortunate retirement.

“Let’s start with the positives,” said Seidl.  “After a difficult Friday and Saturday, we couldn’t have expected the pace we showed today. The performance the team and Lando put together was impressive.

“After avoiding trouble in Turn One, emerging in P5, we were fully in control of our race. That, of course, is encouraging. It’s now important to study our race and understand where this pace came from today.

“The negatives are two DNFs. Two technical failures. This, obviously, is very disappointing. We need to wait until we have the cars back in the garage to begin a thorough analysis, together with our colleagues from Renault, to understand in detail what happened.

“We lost a great opportunity to score good points – but we have to put this behind us and look forward to Monza.”

Seidl wants engine suppliers Renault to be transparent with their investigations into just what went wrong with both power units in Belgium, but he remains encouraged that there are efforts being made to the power units throughout 2019.

“Renault is making a huge effort in order to bring power updates throughout the season so that’s encouraging to see,” Seidl is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com.  “But of course, [it is] disappointing to have all these penalties and the DNFs in the races.

“It is important that we have a transparent and open relationship there, and that we analyse the issues and try to solve them together.”

Seidl said the weekend in Belgium was a difficult one for the motorsport family after the passing of Anthoine Hubert on Saturday afternoon in a horror crash during the FIA Formula 2 feature race, while Juan-Manuel Correa remains in hospital with serious leg injuries from the same accident.

“The last word should of course go to Anthoine and his memory,” said Seidl.  “It is never easy to accept such a loss.

“This has been a difficult 24 hours for the motorsport family and all of us at McLaren send our heartfelt sympathies to Anthoine’s family, friends and colleagues, and our best wishes to Juan-Manuel for his recovery.”

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