McLaren admit MCL36 has ‘fundamental problems’

Michelle Foster
Daniel Ricciardo in focus with Lando Norris foreground. Saudi Arabia March 2022

Daniel Ricciardo in focus with his McLaren team-mate Lando Norris blurred in the foreground. Saudi Arabia March 2022

Andreas Seidl admits McLaren’ MCL36 has “fundamental problems” but insists the power unit is not one of those.

McLaren scored their first points of this season at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Lando Norris racing from 11th on the grid to seventh at the chequered flag.

Eighth in the standings after two races it not how McLaren foresaw their season starting, especially after showing good pace in pre-season testing.

But, when the sandbags came off the rest of the field, McLaren fell down the order with the Woking team yet to feature in Q3.

McLaren team boss Seidl told “We just don’t have enough performance.

“There is no specific source of error. The car works and we have a good basis, but we simply lack the grip.

“I’m not expecting a miracle. It’s not that easy to get to the level of our competitors. It will take time and we have to be patient.”

McLaren’s 2022 troubles coincide with that of their engine supplier Mercedes’ woes.

The Brackley squad’s power unit, which also powers Mercedes, Aston Martin and Williams, was largely blamed for the team’s top speed deficit at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Mercedes, however, insisted that it was only responsible for a tenth, or perhaps two-tenths, not the full half a second that Mercedes were lacking.

Asked if he felt the Mercedes engine played a part in McLaren’s struggles, Seidl said: “We know that we have fundamental problems with the performance of our car. That’s our focus at the moment.”

Seidl is confident McLaren can bounce back from their early-season struggles.

“Development has been very good over the past three years,” he said. “The sun has been shining for the team all the time. Now this is the test for us as to whether we can deal with such a situation.

“We are fully focused on getting as much performance as possible out of the MCL36.

“We continue with all the upgrades that were already planned in advance. In this way we can possibly achieve short-term improvements. At the same time we are making a major analysis of our entire aerodynamic concept.”


He added: “We are at the beginning of the season. There is still enough budget and time in the wind tunnel for the continuous development of the car. I don’t think the current problems will stop us.”


PlanetF1 verdict


McLaren admit MCL36 has 'fundamental problems'

McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl has admitted the MCL36 car has "fundamental problems", but that the power unit is not one of them.