McLaren won't compromise next season in battle with Renault for fourth
Renault’s strong result in Monza saw them close in on McLaren in the battle for fourth in the constructors’ championship, but McLaren Team Principal Andreas Seidl says he's unwilling to compromise long-term goals in a bid to stay ahead of the French manufacturer this year.
Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth and Nico Hulkenberg fifth in Italy to give Renault their best result since returning to Formula 1 in 2016. McLaren had been 43 points clear of Renault during the mid-season break but a return of just one point from the last two races has seen that gap shrink to just 18 points. Despite coming under increasing pressure for fourth in the constructors’ championship, McLaren’s Team Principal said it will not change the team's approach.
“We plan to bring parts - not huge updates but just continuously bringing small things - for the next two or three races at least,” Seidl said. “We just have to see when we fully switch then to next year’s car and the development side. It’s still something which is open.”
Asked if Renault’s result has changed when that switch to developing next year's car could happen, Seidl replied: “No.
We have seen in Spa and Monza we were struggling with the low downforce package in terms of keeping up with Renault
“Of course we want to fight for this P4 as long as possible but at the same time for me it’s a lot more important to make the next step with next year’s car.
“So I don’t want to compromise next year by suddenly switching the focus on this year again. We have a plan in place for what we want to do this year, we have a plan in place for how we approach next year.”
Despite struggling for performance relative to Renault, McLaren were set to score points with at least Carlos Sainz in Italy before a pit stop error resulted in his retirement. Although disappointed, Seidl says the upcoming tracks should provide his team with a chance to bounce back quickly.
“I think the Renault pace was as we had expected it. I think with Carlos’s race it went as expected so we were set for a P6, which would have been damage limitation, because we have seen in Spa and Monza we were struggling with the low-downforce package in terms of keeping up with Renault.
“So it’s obviously disappointing that we go away with only one point and with Renault scoring so many points.”
Next up is the Singapore Grand Prix, where McLaren could have a stronger showing as they use a higher-downforce set-up than at Monza.
“It’s important now as a team to re-group, reset, analyse what happened in detail on the pit stop side and then hopefully with putting more downforce on we are back to where we were before the shutdown in terms of being competitive,” concluded Seidl.
Constructors' standings after 14 rounds