Carlos Sainz has said him and his team’s main aim for the second half of this season is to prepare the car for 2020.
The Spaniard has had an excellent season, sitting comfortably as the best of the rest in the Drivers’ standings, 27 points ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.
Despite dominating the midfield though, Sainz doesn’t believe McLaren will be able to challenge the top three teams in the second half of the season, and should instead look ahead to 2020.
“I don’t think we’re going to be able to break out of the midfield in the second half of the season. We might bring a few tenths to the car which would be great, but everyone is going to bring them, so we need to be careful,” he said to Crash.net.
“What we need to make sure is that we learn the right steps to do on the car this year, and learn them from next year. I think that’s the main target for the second half of the season, learn about this car to make sure we put all the things in the right place for next year’s car.”
Sainz was rejected by Red Bull in favour of Pierre Gasly this season, but has been performing considerably better than the Frenchman’s.
Despite being just five points behind though, the McLaren driver played down his chances of beating him.
“I don’t think that’s going to last much, unfortunately, but it just shows how well we’re doing at the moment and how consistent we are since Baku,” Sainz said. “I don’t know how many points I’ve got, but it’s been incredible.
“The first three races, we were very unlucky, things didn’t come together, but since Baku the hard work over the winter, the hard work that I spend in the factory in Woking, it’s just paying off a lot.
“We keep performing every weekend with great strategy, great pit stops, good on Sundays, and that’s how it should be and what we need to keep doing.”