Seidl did not walk into a broken McLaren team

 

McLaren team principal, Andreas Seidl, has said “the reality was much better” than he expected after officially joining the team in May 2019.

It was suggested that, upon taking the role as team boss, Seidl was walking into a team that was still in pieces following the Fernando Alonso/Honda era, but he found the team was actually in a good condition.

“To be honest the reality was much better than I could expect,” Seidl said in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport.

“At McLaren there is a lot of great technology and people with great talent who are very motivated. At the same time we could do better and this was my goal.

“The top priority was the wind tunnel as we had a clear deficit to the others. The investment made there was a clear sign of a team that wanted to go back on the top level.

“And then the deal with Mercedes for the engine from 2021 made it very clear to everyone.”

Seidl also credited the roles of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz in their first season together as McLaren move closer to taking another positive step forward by claiming the ‘best of the rest’ tag.

“We renew their contracts very quickly so this tells you a lot about how much we believe in them,” Seidl said in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport.

“They have a great future ahead of them, especially if we will be able to provide them with a good car.

“They’ve really impressed me, they are both very fast in qualifying and in the race and not only work really well with the team, but also with the media and the sponsors, too, which obviously helps.

“They understand that this is not the time to fight against each other, but to help improve the team.”

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Sainz: Lap one is lap one, there’s always contact

Carlos Sainz chose not to complain about Alexander Albon’s driving on the opening lap of the US GP as it was lap 1 and there is “always contact”.

Starting sixth and seventh at the Circuit of the Americas with the Red Bull ahead of the McLaren, Sainz made a flying start.

The Spaniard looked to have overtaken Albon around the outside of Turn 1 at the top of the hill only for Albon to fight back, resulting in a hefty whack for Sainz.

Albon came off second best as he was forced to pit for new tyres.

Although the stewards looked at the incident, they declared no investigation was necessary.

Sainz agrees with that call.

“Lap one is lap one, there’s always contact,” he said. “That’s why I didn’t complain on the radio.

“That had a big impact on my race.

“But as always I tried something in corner 1, and this time it didn’t work out.”

As for Albon, he says his misread Charles Leclerc’s actions and found himself in the middle of a sandwich that he could not escape.

“Coming into Turn 1, on the exit, I saw Charles on the inside, basically I tried to put myself as close to Charles as I could because I knew I was going to get better drive coming out of the corner.

“I was expecting Charles to go – the [Valtteri] Bottas line – out-and-in, he didn’t.

“I think I got sandwiched. No one’s fault, really, one of those things, we took some front wing damage, some floor damage.

“I was like ‘here we go, it’s going to be a long day’.”

Albon recovered to fifth while Sainz was eighth.

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Sainz backs plans to change Q2 tyre rule

Carlos Sainz has given his support to plans to change Q2 tyre rules, saying it is a “big limitation” for the teams sitting behind the top-three.

Last week it emerged that the FIA are considering changing the Q2 tyre rule.

At present the drivers qualifying inside the top-ten having to start the grand prix on the tyres they ran in Q2.

This has worked out favourably for F1’s top teams, especially Ferrari and Mercedes, have often use the medium in Q2 giving them better tyre life at the start of a grand prix.

However, those just making it into Q3, such as McLaren, are penalised by having to start on the softer tyre while P11 on down can use the more durable rubber.

Sainz is hoping the rule does change.

He told RaceFans.net: “[It affected us] quite a lot because without having to start on the soft I wouldn’t have dropped into traffic in the second stint.

“And on the hard tyre I wouldn’t have to push so much to overtake the Toro Rossos, we got undercut by them.

“So in the end, it’s a big limitation.

“But I still think we should think about the qualifying P7 and not getting comfortable and trying to qualify P11 to finish in the top 10.

“I hope [the rule] does change because at the moment it’s a big limitation for teams like us that are just half a second quicker in qualifying and then have to have a big compromise for the race.”

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Sainz relieved after FP1 “heart attack” moment

Carlos Sainz says he’s relieved that he ended up having a successful Friday after his McLaren stopped at the start of FP1.

The Spaniard came to a stop at Turn 1 immediately after taking to the track and had to have his car pushed back to the pits by marshals.

“Yeah, it started off with a little heart attack there. I was thinking I was going to miss the whole of FP1,” Sainz said.

“Luckily it was just a connection of a sensor and immediately we were back out and we could complete FP1 without any issues and FP2 without any issues again.”

After the issue was solved, Sainz returned to track and ended up being the ‘best of the rest’ in both practice sessions.

“The car is responding well into Sector 1 here which is always nice,” Sainz added.

“And then Sectors 2 and 3 are nothing special but we’re making all the time in Sector 1… unfortunately we’re very slow in Sector 3, in the chicane and on the straight.

“So it’s a compromise. Our car lately looks to respond well in higher downforce and it looks to be working well in higher downforce so we are playing around a bit with that.

“That’s why we are nothing special in Sector 3, but if that does mean we qualify in P7 then it’s the right decision.”

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