McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl insists it isn’t “mission impossible” for the team to seriously challenge Formula 1’s leading outfits in 2021.
Next year is the beginning of F1’s major regulations changes that are designed to close up the field, with restrictions on spending and simplified car designs.
Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull have held a significant advantage over their rivals in recent years, resulting in all three teams winning every race between them since Malaysia 2013.
Off the back of a fourth place finish last season, McLaren is targeting to make the “next step” in the final year of the current regs in 2020.
“Short-term, my target is clearly that with next year’s car we can make the next step, but at the same time we need to be realistic,” said Seidl, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“For me, a very good step will be if we could jump somewhere in between where we are now and where these top teams are in terms of laptime, which would be a great achievement, but it’s still hard work to get there because the top three teams will continue working on their cars as well.”
Looking ahead to 2021, Seidl believes the top teams will remain at the front despite the rule changes but hasn’t ruled out McLaren’s chances to fight them a year on from now.
“The top three teams for this new era of Formula 1, they’re not just where they are right now because of having more budget, they simply do a better job. So this means automatically also for ’21 they will have a head-start,” Seidl added.
“And the budget cap also will only kick in from ’21 onwards, so there we need to be realistic, they will still be at the front from 2021 onwards.
“But still, we have also seen in the past, it’s not a ‘mission impossible’. We just need to be realistic and also be patient enough whilst also having ambitious targets but be realistic that [it] simply takes time until everything falls into place.
“That wasn’t different for a Mercedes or a Red Bull when they started. The most important thing is to have a clear vision, a clear plan of how we want to tackle the future, how to get everything in place step by step. And then it’s just down to us to make it happen as a team.”