Despite a 16-point cushion, McLaren boss Andreas Seidl fears his team could be caught by Racing Point in the race for third place in the constructors’ World Championship.
McLaren enjoyed an excellent Italian Grand Prix, taking P2 and P4 respectively through Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris, to move clear as ‘best of the rest’ behind Mercedes and Red Bull.
But the picture is skewed somewhat by the fact Racing Point had 15 points deducted as a punishment in the ‘copying’ controversy – a situation that will remain now that all protests against the FIA’s verdict have been dropped.
Therefore, on performance over the first eight races of 2020, McLaren and Racing Point are almost inseparable. However, Seidl thinks the remainder of the schedule may suit the ‘Pink Panthers’ more than his team.
Asked who he thought was favourite to finish third, Seidl, quoted by Autosport, said: “I still think in terms of pure car potential it is still the Racing Point car, especially when you go back to more normal tracks now which will be ahead.
“But I definitely think that as a team, together with our two drivers, plus with the push also on the development side we are still having also for this year’s car, I think we can definitely battle them. And that’s what we will try, hopefully up to the last race.”
Seidl expects McLaren to be strong in this weekend’s race at Mugello, but to face tough competition from the teams around them on the grid.
“On paper, we think it’s a track that suits us,” he said. “But at the same time, it’s really difficult to read at the moment because everyone is still bringing updates to their cars.
“Also, when you read the comments from Renault, for example, where they said they definitely have found a step forward with the car, independent of the downforce configuration. So it will be interesting how they are now in Mugello.
“Racing Point will be strong. Ferrari, we have also seen at different kinds of tracks that they are in this fight, so I think it will stay a tight battle between all of us.
“And in the end, it’s about maximising these race weekends, getting the laps in in quali, maximising the race outcomes in terms of race strategy, pit stops.
“We obviously have the luxury compared to some other teams that we have two very, very strong drivers who are a great asset for us as a team.
“They simply always pull it off when it matters and that gives us these great positions to start with on Sunday.
“That was the reason why we could score P4 in the constructors’ Championship last year and why we are also in P3 at the moment.”