After their very difficult start to the season in Bahrain, McLaren F1 quickly managed to improve their MCL36 to become one of the best teams in the midfield, if not the best alongside Alpine.
While the ambitions of the Woking team are of course much higher, with their sights set on one day returning to the top step of the podium, technical director James Key congratulates his troops on the progress made through development this year.
“What we brought to the car in terms of design and developments worked quite well. At the beginning of the year, we identified a few things that would allow us to improve it and we acted quickly and proactively. credit goes to everyone involved. »
« When it comes to the development packages, we have taken an aggressive approach. In each phase of development, we have worked hard and managed to make everything work for five or six races and we have gained a few tenths each time, so we are satisfied. We are currently working on a new package which will be introduced soon and which contains some minor changes for the remaining races. I would say that we brought a lot of things to the track and everything worked as we wanted it to. »
“However, I think the standards reached by the three top teams demonstrate what you need to be able to achieve. If you start the season with a competitive car, you can adapt your development plans by being more focused on the areas which give you the most problems. That’s what we want for next year. We’ve learned a lot this season and the whole team has done a very good job. »
James Key also welcomed the valuable feedback from the two McLaren drivers, Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo.
« They have very good feelings in the car and know how to tell where its strengths and weaknesses lie, even if sometimes they don’t necessarily know how to say precisely where they come from. It’s then our job to decipher that by using the data and the tools that we have at our disposal, and fixing the problems. Typically, these are not easy things to fix and therefore it takes time and work. »
The fight rages on with Alpine for fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship, and Key sees it lasting until Abu Dhabi.
« It’s a very close battle and I expect it to be until the end. We have to try to maximize our potential in every race while improving the car. There were a lot of opportunities missed this season, our car was fast at some circuits but not so fast at others, and we need to understand why. We need to be more consistent from race to race. I’m sure almost any team could say that. , but it was a more complicated year than the previous ones. »
« We have further developments to come which I hope will make the car more capable. Of course we don’t know if the other teams will do the same, but we hope to gain an advantage. We have to evolve to our better level in the remaining races. »