F1 shutdown ‘could delay’ McLaren resurgence

Jamie Woodhouse
Carlos Sainz McLaren

New rules are in the "sweet spot" for McLaren.

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl admits that his team’s rise back up the grid could be delayed by the current shutdown.

The coronavirus pandemic has meant that the 2020 Formula 1 season is yet to get underway – the first nine rounds are on hold and there is no definitive date for when the season can begin.

As a result the new regulations which were set to come in to the series from next year have been delayed until 2022.

McLaren achieved their best finish in the Constructors’ Championship since 2012 last year with P4, but Seidl fears their resurgence could hit a speed bump due to the delay in the new regulations and current five-week shutdown on all F1 operations.

“It is no secret that we as McLaren were pushing a lot to get these new regulations in place for 2021,” Seidl told selected media including Motorsport.com.

“But at the same time we fully understand and support why they have been delayed.

“In terms of timing I think it’s clear that with the shift of the regulations by one year and with this long shutdown, it will potentially delay our way back up the grid.

“But at the same time, that’s the challenge we’re in. We have a clear plan in place of what we have to do in the next months and years in order to move up the grid again.”

One part of the new regulations which will still come in for 2021 is the budget cap, however, the limit is yet to be finalised.

The original figure was $175m per season, excluding wages for the top three executives, driver salaries and engine costs.

That cap has now been reduced to $150m, but McLaren are pushing for $100m.

“We would like to see the budget cap as low as possible. We have put out the number of $100 million, which is something we would be in favour of,” Seidl explained.

“I clearly see a commitment from everyone, understanding that we are in a big crisis and that we have to make big decisions to make sure we protect the teams and protect Formula 1.”

Seidl also gave an update on the status of the overhaul to McLaren’s operations and facilities which he is overseeing, including the new wind tunnel.

“Also here, still difficult to know exactly how big the delays will be,” he said.

“One thing is for sure, the entire factory apart from the ventilator production is in full shutdown at the moment, so this means also the infrastructure projects are on hold.

“We simply need to see now together with all our companies and suppliers working together on this project how big the delays will be once we get going again.”

But Seidl made it clear that for now, ensuring the McLaren team survives the coronavirus pandemic is the biggest priority.

“The most important thing at the moment is to go through this crisis and survive it as a team and as Formula 1,” said the McLaren principal.

“It’s a tough situation for everyone, but I’m confident that as soon as we are through this crisis that we simply can continue the positive momentum we had before we all went into the shutdown.”

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