The MCL36 suffered badly in Bahrain during the first race, because it suffers from a general lack of downforce according to Lando Norris.
It would have been tempting then for the team to make changes this weekend in Jeddah, to start raising the bar. However, the busy schedule (only one week apart from Bahrain) did not facilitate this task.
Andreas Seidl, director of the McLaren team in F1, also gave an additional explanation: if McLaren did not bring changes, it is because of the hard work that had to be done between winter testing and the first race, to solve the brake problems. An occupation that has vampirized the contribution of developments according to the team manager.
“With all our emergency work to put out the fire [le problème lié aux freins] that we had to carry out between winter testing and the race in Bahrain, the team was very, very busy to concentrate fully on this mission, and that took away from us the ability to do other things in parallel, which is obviously a compromise. »
“At the same time, the parts that we have in the works – and we have – are not yet ready for this reason, or do not really constitute progress for this specific circuit in Jeddah. »
“For example, we are happy with the rear wing that we have implemented here and that we have also used in Bahrain. »
Seidl confirms the words of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo: this McLaren does not suffer from any particular defect, apart from a general lack of downforce. There is therefore no hidden defect, but is this good news? Will it be possible to solve the problem by a few changes in a few races?
« We clearly see that we just don’t have enough performance, we don’t have enough grip, which is ultimately the result of a lack of mechanical grip and, at the same time, aerodynamic load on the car. »
« That’s what we’re working on, to see how to unlock more performance as quickly as possible, or bring more performance to the car with new parts. »
“We don’t really have any specific problem, the car works…there is no specific problem in terms of balance when you listen to the feedback from the drivers. We have a healthy platform, it’s just the overall grip that’s missing. »
“The most important thing in these situations where you lack performance is to have a clear idea of why. »
Either way, McLaren feels like they’re stepping back years – to 2018 for example – when the team had been on an upswing for several years.
Isn’t this a blow to morale, a real blow to the team? Seidl prefers to see the positive…
« After the good development we’ve had in the team over the past three years, where the sun was always shining and we were always moving forward, this is the first time we’ve had such a setback for us as a team. team. »
« It’s a test now, where we can show that everything we have put in place in terms of organization, in terms of culture, to show that we are able to deal with this situation. »
“We now know what we have to work on and what the objective is. That’s what the whole team is focusing on now. »
“It was important after Bahrain that we had this reality check to make sure that we turned this disappointment that we all felt as quickly as possible into positive energy. »