Seidl wasn’t confident about Imola soft tyre call

Date published: April 21 2021

Andreas Seidl, McLaren

Andreas Seidl says he was not confident about the decision to put Lando Norris on soft tyres for the restart at Imola.

Due to Lewis Hamilton going into the gravel and Sergio Perez serving a penalty, Norris found himself in P3, behind Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, when the race was red-flagged following Valtteri Bottas and George Russell’s crash.

During the stoppage, McLaren opted to put him on soft tyres for the restart and it proved a good call as he quickly passed Leclerc with a move that ultimately secured the second podium finish of his F1 career.

However, at the time, Seidl was not so sure about it.

“I asked my strategy guys, they were pretty confident it would work out. I wasn’t that confident, to be honest,” said the team principal as per GPFans.

“But these guys, with the detailed analysis from everything they had seen from the weekend, with the long runs we did on Friday, they had a good conversation with the drivers during the Red Flag period and in the end they were confident, with the drivers, that it would work.

“Clearly, we wanted to get in a position to score a podium and therefore this approach was taken from the team’s side together with the drivers.”

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The decision for teams over which tyre to put their drivers on was made all the more difficult by the fact they did not know whether there would be a standing or rolling restart.

Aston Martin expected a standing start and put Sebastian Vettel on softs and he felt that, with a rolling start being used instead, it hindered him hugely.

McLaren, though, felt that if their drivers could warm up the tyres, it would be a better strategy regardless.

“We wanted to make up positions. The discussion the drivers had together with the team was about trying to go for that,” added Seidl.

“Trying to go for the softs in order to have a good warm-up of the tyres after the restart in order to try to jump one car, which worked out for Lando getting Charles. This was key to scoring the podium.

“The second reason we put the softs on was that it wasn’t clear if it would have been a standing start and then I think the benefit would have been even bigger compared to the medium starters.”

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