McLaren claims its comeback to the Formula One podium brings “no comfort” since it recognises how fiercely competitive its midfield competitors are this year.
After a slow start to the 2022 season in Bahrain, when McLaren struggled to collect a score, the Woking-based team has made rapid improvement, allowing Lando Norris to place in the top three for the first time this season in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
However, with Haas, Alfa Romeo, and Alpine all beginning to show signs of tremendous promise so far this season, McLaren team president Andreas Seidl is hesitant to believe his squad is prepared to take the lead in the chase for Red Bull and Ferrari.
“I think from what we have seen now from Melbourne and Imola, the car is working under all kinds of conditions and also different track layouts, which is very positive,” explained Seidl.
“But, at the same time, if you look at the field where it is very close between the Mercedes, us, Valtteri [Bottas], and Kevin [Magnussen], there’s no comfort in what we are seeing now in the last few weekends.”
Despite remaining practical about McLaren’s position, Seidl believes the squad can achieve consistent Q3 results and a good chunk of points from each weekend.
“I’m never too confident because I know that the machinery in this paddock with all teams is not standing still, but I am confident that we have a car and a package which is able at each weekend at the moment to fight for Q3 and fight for good points,” he said.
“And that goes together with a strong team and two strong drivers.
“It’s not just about lap time performance, it’s also about putting the weekends together and I give really big compliments to the team about how everyone pulled it off in Imola despite some challenges like not getting many laps done in P2.”
Despite without getting carried away with how much things have gotten better, Seidl is really impressed by the way the squad knuckled down following the Bahrain problems to get back into the race.
“It was great to see for me how the team was dealing with the challenge of the Bahrain race weekend, and how everyone stayed calm and united and simply kept their head down and kept working together as one team through it,” he said.
“That was very pleasing to see because that was the first real test of everything we had put in place over the last three years, where the sun was always shining.
“So I am very pleased with that, and very pleased as well to know that we have a plan in place of where we want to bring more performance to the car in the next weeks and months.”
Daniel Ricciardo, F1, F1 2022, Formula 1, Grand Prix, Lando Norris, McLaren