Andreas Seidl says McLaren now have a “clear plan” for how to develop the MCL36 after their much-improved showing in Australia.
Having looked strong at the opening unofficial test in Barcelona, McLaren’s subsequent struggles on three consecutive March weekends in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia came as a surprise.
The only points they collected in the Middle East-based start to the campaign came via Lando Norris’ seventh-placed finish in Jeddah, with overheating brakes during official testing the big issue that had limited their running and put the team on the back foot.
But even though Norris said it had been mainly track-specific, the Australian Grand Prix represented significant progress as the Briton and Daniel Ricciardo, in his home race, crossed the line fifth and sixth respectively.
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Seidl, the team principal, has said there is a lot of work to do with a “one-second gap to the top cars” on a flying lap.
However, the good news is that McLaren know how they need to go about that work.
“I’m very happy to say we have a clear plan in place now of what we need to do with the car in terms of making steps in terms of performance,” Seidl told The Race.
“This will take a bit of time. So we need to be patient despite all the ambition. But the most important thing is we have a clear plan that we will execute now.
“In terms of when this is happening exactly, I don’t want to go too much into detail. There are different parameters you have to manage when you do that, there’s the cost cap which you need to consider, there is the limited wind tunnel time also that you have nowadays, which you need to consider.
“That’s why you need to package it a bit as well as what you are doing.”
Besides the brake problems from Bahrain, McLaren identified another key weakness with their speed in slow corners being a concern.
“It was obviously important, after realising we are lacking performance, to analyse and do the studies to work out how we can improve performance as quickly as possible,” added Seidl.
Of the pace in slow corners, the German added: “If you look at the overlays from Bahrain, we were missing grip and performance.
“You can also see from the overlays in Australia that is where we are the weakest compared to the top cars.”
McLaren have clear development plan
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has said the team has a clear development plan for the MCL36.