Like his colleague James Key, team principal Andreas Seidl is intrigued to see if rival constructors try to recreate McLaren’s eye-catching new diffuser design.
The McLaren diffuser was among the big talking points at pre-season testing, amid suggestions it could spark significant performance gains as the team try to close the gap to Red Bull and even Mercedes.
The likelihood is that if there does appear to be a significant advantage of the unique diffuser design, others will try to replicate it – a process McLaren’s technical director Key said could potentially be achieved and on the car in three to five weeks.
Seidl is also fascinated as to whether others will jump on the bandwagon, especially given there is plenty of time to do so with only two races scheduled during the remainder of March and the whole of April.
“It will be interesting to see how this will develop in the next few weeks,” Seidl told RTL. “Whether teams are hoping for a leap if they try to recreate the solution.
“It’s great to see though and I’m happy for our aerodynamics team that they found this solution.”
Although lap times during pre-season testing cannot be taken as truly representative, McLaren appeared to enjoy a positive three days in Bahrain both in terms of pace and reliability as they prepare for the opening race at the same venue on March 28.
Daniel Ricciardo has settled in well alongside Lando Norris and there seemed to be no teething troubles with the new Mercedes engine which McLaren have taken on this year.
In terms of how he thinks the team might be faring in relation to their rivals, Seidl added: “It’s very difficult to read where anyone is. Of course we don’t talk about how far we were from the limit.
“But I think we are well prepared and that we are in a very close battle again. We would be very, very satisfied with a podium in the first race.”
As for the drivers, Seidl added: “Daniel is a great benchmark for Lando. He has shown he can win races with the right material and that helps Lando to take the next step.”
“We can’t forget how young Lando is,” Seidl added of the 21-year-old. “From what I have seen, he is taking that step.”