New arrival Seidl aims to build on 2019’s early “positive momentum”
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 16/05/19 11:20am
McLaren’s new team principal Andreas Seidl says he has joined a team with “a lot of positive momentum” but admits they may not be able to close the gap to the top three until F1’s next technical overhaul in 2021.
Seidl, a highly-regarded signing from Porsche’s LMP1 programme in WEC, is the first man to hold the bespoke team principal title at McLaren since Martin Whitmarsh and has been tasked with leading the iconic Woking team’s F1 comeback after four underwhelming years towards the back of the midfield.
There have been signs of recovery this season with McLaren fourth in the constructors’ standings – behind only Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull – and Seidl, who is the latest addition to a new-look technical team that includes James Key and Pat Fry, is happy with the progress.
“Of course my personal ambitions are high but the case is the same for every single member of the team,” Seidl told Sky Sports News at the Spanish GP. “At the same time, we need to be realistic. There is some hard work ahead of us at McLaren.
“The positive thing is that there is a lot of positive momentum and I think a lot of the changes Zak made last year are paying off already.
“Now it’s down to me, together with the team, to keep going in that direction and, step by step, getting closer to the top guys.”
But how McLaren get closer to those ‘top guys’ is easier said than done.
The sport’s 20-time champions have been slowly have been falling back behind their rivals since switching to Honda engines back in 2014 – and while they are making ground in their second season with Renault power, the team are more often than not still over a second-a-lap slower than the fastest car.
Seidl therefore is realistic about McLaren’s fightback, claiming the new regulations in 2021, which could be confirmed as early as June this year, give the British outfit their best chance of making a big jump towards the front.
“I think it’s important that changes are coming,” he said. “I think the discussions we are having with Formula 1 and the FIA are very good and of course there will be challenges ahead looking towards the new regulations in 2021.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to close this gap to the front.”
McLaren’s ‘journey’, plan to win races
McLaren CEO Zak Brown added to reporters: “It’s going to be a journey. In the short term we are battling some teams with some very large budgets and we know all of problems in Formula 1 today that I think are going to be fixed from 2021 onwards.
“I think as that Formula 1 moves into its next phase, I think that plays to McLaren’s strengths so we needed to start the rebuilding the process.”
Brown, while saying Seidl will have full control of the F1 team, also said that “ultimately, the buck stops with me” but is optimistic about McLaren’s future – insisting the team will be successful again in the next decade.
“I do think it i’ll be in the (2-10 year) window (when McLaren win races), hopefully more in the middle,” he said. “But I have no doubt that we’ll get back to winning races.”
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