With pre-season testing over, McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl says that it’s looking like it will be “very tight” between teams in 2021.
McLaren were one of the most impressive teams on the grid over the three days of testing, encountering few major issues with the car looking quick and stable.
With a Mercedes engine fitted and the likes of Aston Martin and Ferrari not looking particularly good in Bahrain, many expect the British team to be well clear of their midfield rivals in 2021.
However, Seidl doubts that that will be the case, expecting the field to be as bunched up as ever for the upcoming campaign.
“It’s been a productive pre-season test for us in Bahrain. The reduced number of days meant it was crucial to maximise our running time and we’re pleased with the amount of work we’ve been able to complete,” he said.
Lando [Norris’s] feedback gave us a good benchmark on the MCL35M compared to our previous car, while Daniel [Ricciardo] was able to get more familiar with the car and provide useful data and insight for the engineers.
“The conditions out on track were slightly different to what we’re used to here in Bahrain. Running during the day means the track temperatures are much higher than usual, and the sandstorm on Friday evening proved an interesting challenge for the team and drivers. Despite this, we completed our run plans as expected throughout the weekend.
“The team, both here in Bahrain and back at the factory, has done an excellent job alongside our Mercedes colleagues to deliver a reliable car, which is crucial to a productive test. We head back to Woking to analyse all the data and make our final preparations before we return to Bahrain for the start of the season.
“Once again, the competition is looking very tight between the teams. The stability of the regulations makes it likely that we’re in for another close season of Formula 1, with plenty of battles ahead.”
A shout-out to all our Aussie fans this weekend 🧡
Don’t worry, we’ll be back before you know it! 🇦🇺
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) March 14, 2021
Another major positive for Seidl and co was that Ricciardo had no problems and seemed to get to grips with his new car quickly.
The Aussie says that feels at home and is ready for the season opener.
“I’m really happy to have got it done reliably with no real issues or concerns, it’s been a really smooth three days,” he said.
“I’m really thankful to the team, both here at the track and back at the factory, for putting together a good car for these days at the test.
“They’ve really made me feel at home, so I’m feeling comfortable and I can’t wait to come back here and get on track for the Bahrain Grand Prix.”