Andreas Seidl has admitted that it was a surprise that the McLaren F1 Team was able to fight for and secure fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship in 2019, with their results exceeding his expectations.
McLaren raced an all-new driver line-up in 2019, with Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lando Norris replacing Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne, with the previous pairing only able to help the Woking-based outfit to finish sixth in the Constructors’ standings.
Only sixty-two points were scored in 2018 but 2019 was a whole different story, with Sainz finishing sixth in the Drivers’ Championship with ninety-six points, while Norris scored forty-nine points in his rookie campaign in Formula 1 as he finished eleventh.
Seidl, the Team Principal at McLaren, says it came at a surprise that the team was able to have such a strong season, particularly on the back of a number of disappointing campaigns during the turbo hybrid era that before 2019 had not seen a podium finish since the Australian Grand Prix of 2014.
“When I signed for McLaren in November last year, I honestly didn’t expect us to fight for P4 in 2019,” Seidl is quoted as saying by Crash.net. “Where we were competing this season in the field is very tight which means each race we had to fight incredibly hard for points to climb up in the championship and nothing was secured until the end of the season.
“Given the difficult times the team went through, this season has been an incredible step forward. It gives us a lot of motivation and energy. Looking ahead, we have to keep this momentum up and simply have to keep on pushing in order to achieve our ambitious targets.
“At the same time, we should never underestimate what our competitors can do. They all have the same high targets and will work very hard towards them as well.”
French Grand Prix a sign McLaren Could Fight for Fourth – Seidl
Seidl says it was McLaren’s strong performance during the French Grand Prix that gave him the confidence that the team were genuinely in contention for fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship, while another highlight was the Brazilian Grand Prix, where Sainz’s podium finish secured that fourth place.
The way McLaren developed their MCL34 and improved on their weaknesses was another positive for Seidl to take away from his first year with the team, which only began in May following his move from the Porsche LMP1 programme.
“There were several highlights,” said Seidl. “First, the French Grand Prix. We were clearly the fourth strongest team in qualifying and in the race, and it was at that moment that we thought we could genuinely fight for P4 in the constructors’ standings.
“The developments that we were bringing to the car were working well, and there were plenty more still to come. It was fantastic to see how the team back home in Woking were working hard to develop, produce and deliver the updates during the season.
“Another on-track highlight was the moment we secured P4 in the constructors’ table in Brazil. We weren’t always the fourth-fastest team this year, but ending up in P4 meant we were the fourth strongest team overall.
“How we improved the car during the season, how we understood our weaknesses and how we pulled off the race weekends – the strategy calls we made, the qualifying performances, the driver performances – were all fantastic and P4 was the well-deserved reward.”