‘Still a huge gap to second, never mind P1’

Michelle Foster
McLaren celebrate

McLaren progress could have been stifled without new investment.

Signing off on 2020 with a third place in the Constructors’ Championship, Andreas Seidl has ruled out McLaren chasing down Red Bull for second next season.

Although McLaren didn’t join Racing Point and Renault on the podium in the latter part of the season, the Woking team was by far the most consistent of the three.

A run of five successive double points-hauls, including two P4s, saw the team secure third place in the standings by seven points ahead of Racing Point.

They were, however, 117 behind Red Bull with Mercedes, the champions of 2020, a further 254 points ahead.

Seidl is delighted with McLaren’s achievements this season but concedes chasing down Red Bull in 2021 is on the cards given the massive gap between second and the midfield.

“I think we need to stay realistic,” the McLaren team boss told Motorsport.com.

“Despite the good result we have this weekend and, despite the great outcome for us in the championship side, with P3, I think we know exactly where we are.

“There’s still a huge gap to the cars in front, especially the Mercedes car.”

Get your hands on the official McLaren 2020 collection via the Formula 1 store

But while a title fight is still a distant dream for McLaren, Seidl is encouraged by the team’s progress, both on and off the track.

“I think the most important thing is to first of all see that the team this year, under the leadership of James Key, has produced a very competitive car.

“It is a step forward compared to last year.

“It was great to see also that despite all these challenges in the pandemic, that the team kept pushing flat out back home in engineering, and in production, to continuously bring updates to the track, which in the end, kept improving the performance of the car.

“And of course it’s a great finish to the season, knowing that at this track, at this specific event, we had the third fastest car.

“But still, we know what the gap to Mercedes is. It is not something we will close from one year to the next year.

“We still know that we have a lot of deficits within the team in terms of organisation, in terms of infrastructure, which we need to close first.

“But again, we have a clear plan of how we want to reduce these deficits. It will take time. But I’m confident that if we do the right things on the team side, we can close these gaps in some years.”

McLaren said farewell to Carlos Sainz at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with Daniel Ricciardo joining the team as Lando Norris’ 2021 team-mate.

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