McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl says the team must not get caught up in the emotion of its Italian Grand Prix win without forgetting it was “destroyed” the previous weekend.
The Woking-based outfit ended a nine-year wait for a Formula 1 victory at Monza, with Daniel Ricciardo leading home team-mate Lando Norris in a one-two finish.
But despite its triumph, Seidl wants the team to remember how far it was off the pace just a week before at the Dutch Grand Prix, when it finished 10th and 11th respectively, as a reminder it still has room for improvement.
“What I respect, looking at Mercedes and Red Bull, is that they have a car that can fight for the win every single weekend,” said Seidl, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“That is the gap we have as a team compared to these guys, so I am not too focused on a 1-2 or whatever. In the end it is a sensational result for us, but only seven days before we got destroyed in Zandvoort in terms of performance.
“That is the gap we still have to the top teams with our car, and that is why we have to keep working hard in order to keep closing the gap in all kinds of circuits.”
McLaren’s victory proved crucial in its fight with Ferrari for third place in the constructors’ standings, opening up a 13.5-point lead with eight races remaining.
Seidl believes the result will be a major morale boost in its quest to fight at the front of the field on a more regular basis.
“It is the best motivation to keep going,” Seidl said. “I am obviously very happy with what both drivers showed, and I am very happy with Daniel making his steps since the summer break and getting back to where he wants to be, where we want to have him.
“And this is in addition to Lando, who is in unbelievable form this year and obviously that’s the drive that we want to have and we need to have in order to fight for Ferrari, and in order to keep going in our journey towards the front in Formula 1 again.”
Since McLaren took its last win in the 2012 season finale at Brazil, it has been forced to watch rivals such as AlphaTauri and Alpine make the most of opportunities when presented to claim a surprise victory.
But Seidl insists McLaren never let the situation derail its racing spirit, believing pushing the team to win on its own terms will be a greater satisfaction.
“It is not frustrating to see other guys winning, because in the end if you win the race you deserve it,” he said.
“The more important thing for me is to see that we continually improve as a team, so in the end we are going to get to that point as a team to win races down to our own performances each weekend, independent of track characteristics, tyre selection, track conditions. That’s what I am focused on.
“But obviously we want to take opportunities when they are there, because obviously a moment like [the Italian GP] is simply unforgettable for everyone in the team.
“It is important to celebrate these moments because they do not come that often at the moment for us. But we are on the up. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we are very happy how we could pull this off.”