Lando Norris, McLaren, Silverstone, 2019

McLaren now confident it can beat Renault to fourth

2019 Japanese Grand Prix

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McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl says the team has “everything in its hands” to beat Renault to fourth place in the constructors’ championship following their performance in Japan.

With four races remaining, McLaren leads Renault by 111 points to 77. It extended its leads over Renault by a single point in Japan, despite Lando Norris failing to score after being forced to pit with overheating brakes. And Renault’s points haul remains provisional following Racing Point’s protest against the team.

Seidl said the team has “lots of positives to take away” from Suzuka, where Carlos Sainz Jnr out-ran Charles Leclerc’s recovering Ferrari to take his third fifth-place finish of the season.

“For us it’s good to score again more points compared to Renault,” said Seidl. “So I’m happy that we could extend the lead again over our competitors.

“I think with what we have seen as a kind of a trend in the last three, four races we clearly have the fourth strongest car. We have everything in our hands now to secure this P4 at the end of the season which will be a great achievement for us as a team.

“At the same time it’s important now to stay flat out for next year’s car, make the next step.”

McLaren are still finding performance gains from their current car and will bring minor updates between now and the end of the season, Seidl added.

“It seems that we still keep improving the car or still keep understanding the car better and better,” he said. “[Last] weekend it was really working well.

“I’m also happy with the execution of the different Sunday compared to other race weekends because it’s a change. We all live in these fixed schedules, fixed procedures and so on so it’s a challenge. It’s the same for all but it’s a challenge if you have these changes. So I’m happy with how the team did today together with the drivers.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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21 comments on “McLaren now confident it can beat Renault to fourth”

  1. Yep have to agree MacLaren have looked good from the start and have built on that. They have had a resurgence and I think RB will be looking over their shoulder next season at an orange car, if the Renault engine can deliver.
    Renault on the other hand have had a bad yr, and if the protest is upheld it will be a terrible one, and I don’t want to think about the possible consequences of that.

    1. @johnrkh

      They have had a resurgence and I think RB will be looking over their shoulder next season at an orange car, if the Renault engine can deliver.

      Agree. They’ve had a strong season with constant progress to consolidate themselves as mid field leaders. I think they should make some progress next year, and a definite step forward in 2021 when they switch to Mercedes power. Heck, I would take a punt and say that Mclaren + Mercedes will be as good as, if not stronger than Red Bull + Honda.

      1. I really hope Ferrari’s step up sustains, RBR Honda can do just a bit more and McLaren joins in. A 4 team title fight, mouth watering.
        I have no hope for Renault :-(

        1. For it to be a 4 way battle, we need to hope that Mercedes has a slight dip in form.

  2. The McLaren has good all round performance unlike a lot of their midfield competitors who seem to be track type specific.

  3. It’s been ebbing and flowing a bit back and forth between Renault and McLaren, but at least McLaren and Renault seem to be on their own F1.25 class at the moment. Well ahead of the rest of the midfield.

    Where McLaren has actually had a slight margin over Renault in the last few races, but that might switch back to Renault taking the lead too though.

    1. I think one of the key points is, is even when McLaren aren’t the 4th fastest team, they’re able to challenge for Q3, whereas when Renault aren’t 4th fastest, they’re struggling to get out of Q1. The consistency of McLaren has been crucial for them, and on top of that, they’ve probably been 4th fastest more often anyway. Go McLaren! Resurgence!

  4. It’s been a great year for Mclaren. Hopefully they can build on this next year and come strong in 2021 with the new rules. Their driver pairing is on point too.. They have consistency in Sainz and potential in Norris. So all in all very promising.

  5. So proud of the team bouncing back. I do wish Fernando had been there this year just to see him have a legitimately competitive car (within reason).

    1. Who knows, maybe, as well as sainz is driving, alonso could’ve sneaked in a podium somewhere with this mclaren.

  6. All good comments above. Big improvement for the team in a short period of time. Heartening to watch. Would like to see Williams do this next year!

  7. Although in fairness, McLaren probably switched focus to their 2019 car earlier than most teams, once it became apparent their 2018 challenger had fundamental issues that wouldn’t really be able to be fixed. Which is why it may be harder when you’re trying to keep one eye on both 2019 and 2020. However, the regulation stability will probably mean that any improvements in 2019 can carry over.

  8. Alonso leaves, team gets better. How’s that for a crazy coincidence?

    1. RocketTankski, I think that many more would say it is a case of McLaren employing a highly respected and experienced manager as their team principal (Seidl), simplified their management organisation and engaged in a badly overdue overhaul of their technical department that was overdue about a decade ago.

      For the resources and funding that team have had over the years, McLaren were underperforming in the years before Alonso joined – their 2013 and 2014 seasons were, let’s be frank, poor, and both of those cars were technically flawed.

      Although Honda did initially struggle at McLaren, at the same time there were criticisms that McLaren were also failing to acknowledge their own technical issues – the 2016 car reportedly had handling issues due to the rear suspension geometry, and the 2017 car was rumoured to have badly undershot McLaren’s aero efficiency figures – because, to some extent, the issues Honda had masked McLaren’s own deficiencies.

      McLaren spent years talking up their chassis design, but if we’re frank, what was the last McLaren chassis that we can say was really that great? Maybe 2010? The MP4/26 in 2011 only became competitive after copying bits from Red Bull, their 2012 car was very inconsistent and hard to set up and 2013 and 2014 both saw cars that were uncompetitive.
      2015 is perhaps a little harder to read because of the initial troubles with Honda, but whilst 2016 and 2017 also saw difficulties with Honda, in both of those years the cars, as I’ve noted before, were reportedly not as good as McLaren tried to publicly portray them as.

      Really, I feel that a lot of the current resurgence now is because the team spent 2018 restructuring after finally being forced to confront the reasons for their poor form, which was their underperforming technical department. It took years for them to realise it, but finally McLaren seem to have realised that they weren’t as good as they were – and, dare I say it, I think that owes a lot more to Ron Dennis finally leaving McLaren than it does Alonso, as there were more than a few who quietly pointed the finger at Ron as being the real problem at McLaren.

  9. “can beat”? More like “has beat”.

  10. Somewhere last year in the off season after it was confirmed Alonso was leaving I said something along the lines of ‘mark my words, McLaren will all of a sudden become a top 4 team again’ lol. They finally got rid of the Alonso curse and it’s paying dividends

  11. Seidl has a raised bar for next year. Judging by this season Zak and Gil really did identify what they required in order to make progress from 2nd to last up to 4th

    1. I must admit that I enjoy listening to him in interviews far more than I did when Zak was being interviewed.

  12. Meanwhile at Williams…

  13. As a Macca fan I’m delighted but can’t help shaking the the feeling that true progress has been masked by problems that have beset the opposition. Williams imploding , Force India –> Racing Point transformation issues, Torro Rosso has become Honda/RBR sacrificial testbed, Sauber/Alfa has become Ferrari testbed now leaving HAAS in the cold. Renault seem to have blown there budget on Danny Ric. Next year will be the real test

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