Behind Mercedes, Red Bull and Racing Point, McLaren appeared to be the 4th in free practice 1 and 2 yesterday in Styria. The hierarchy is more or less consistent with that of last week, even if Racing Point still found time on the lap.
Andreas Seidl, director of the McLaren F1 team, disappointed to see the Roses take the lead?
“I'm quite happy because we were able to confirm our performance once again, by finishing 5th and 8th in EL2. On a tour, we are there. What’s good to see is that I think we’re struggling again with Ferrari and Renault, and with a Racing Point (Lance Stroll). If you look at the cars in front of us, I think we saw, for the first time, that Racing Point could really show the potential of the 2019 Mercedes. It was definitely a lap time that we couldn't do, but it was a good session for us. "
In view of the Barcelona tests, the performance of Racing Point was expected; however, does Seidl regret that the team could have found so much competitiveness in one winter, copying last year's Mercedes?
“I always said that if we take the Mercedes from last year, and that we exploit it to the maximum of its potential… we know that we have not taken this step forward with the development of cars on our side during winter; so this is normal, what we see. At the same time, there is at least one car on the Racing Point side that we can fight, and as we know, in racing anything can happen. We saw last weekend that we were not as strong on Friday and that we could beat them on Sunday, and we will try again. "
To catch up with Racing Point, the McLaren chassis will have to evolve significantly next year … Or, in addition to the partial freezing of the chassis, McLaren's attention will have to focus primarily on the transition from the Renault engine to the unit of Mercedes power. Isn’t that shooting yourself in the foot?
"There is a reason why we made the decision to switch to the Mercedes power unit next year. Because we are convinced that it is the best engine available on the market. For many years Mercedes has clearly been the benchmark for engine power in this hybrid era, and there is nothing better for us than having the champion team engine in the back of our car. "
To beat Racing Point next year, McLaren is also counting on a new driver association, Daniel Ricciardo-Lando Norris, and Seidl is already delighted.
"I think this is one of the strongest line-ups in the paddock. It gives everything we need to be closer to the cutting edge stables again. It is up to us, as a team, to make this happen. "
"But as I have said many times, we have a clear idea of what we are missing from the top teams, in terms of infrastructure, in terms of organization. It still takes time, we are still in the middle of this process – we are talking about years – but we are going in the right direction, and that is what we are focusing on. "