Andreas Seidl has revealed that it was an “internal issue on the power unit side” that damaged Carlos Sainz’s exhaust on his way to the Spa grid.
Sainz did not take the start grid for the Belgian Grand Prix after report “smoke” and that “something broke” as he made his way to the grid.
Instead he limped back to the McLaren garage for his mechanics to have a look at the car.
The exhaust issue meant Sainz did not take his P7 starting spot.
Team boss Seidl says it was an engine issue that led to the exhaust problem, although what issue exactly McLaren are not yet certain.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) August 30, 2020
The team has given the engine back to Renault to analyse.
“We need to wait for the analysis on the Renault side on the specific issue,” Seidl told Autosport.
“In the end we saw it was an internal issue on the power unit side, which then as a consequence damaged the rear of the car and the exhaust.
“Obviously that is disappointing for Carlos, for us, not being able to even start the race.
“But it is what it is and we must wait for the analysis, also in terms of the consequences to see if there is any chance to recover this power unit or if it is a terminal failure.”
He added: “It’s difficult for Carlos to take something like today.
“It was a big disappointment for him, but it’s no different for us, for the team.
“But in the end that’s unfortunately part of racing as well to a certain degree and it’s important to stick to the facts, analyse whenever something is going wrong, what happened, to learn from it and try to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
“The good thing is [in] not even a week, we go racing again and hopefully we can make up for it.”
While Sainz was out of the race, his team-mate Lando Norris raced his way to seventh at the chequered flag.
Scoring seven points, the Brit helped McLaren to third in the Constructors’ Championship.
“It was a degree of missed opportunity, because we could have had two cars in good positions today to score very important points, which is disappointing,” Seidl said.
“The pace of the car was quite encouraging and we could take points away from the Racing Points and from the Ferraris.
“We are back in P3 in the constructors’ championship which is good, and looking ahead I think it is good to see we have a car that we can fight with all these teams around us.
“It will also depend on track characteristics and layout, but it is good to be in this fight and to have a car and two drivers where we can take up this fight.”
It marked the fourth time in six years that Sainz has failed to reach the chequered flag at Spa, and continued the Spaniard’s luckless start to the 2020 season.