McLaren must up its game “in all areas” if it wants to remain in contention for fourth place in the constructors’ championship, insists Formula 1 team principal Andreas Seidl.
The Woking-based team came away from last weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix having had neither car finish inside the points paying positions, while its nearest rivals secured top-10 finishes.
Lando Norris was struck with an engine issue in qualifying that left him only 14th on the grid, forcing him to revert to an older-spec power unit for the race.
Norris’ chances to make progress in the grand prix were dashed when McLaren pitted both its drivers together under the virtual safety car, only to not have his tyres ready.
The Briton could only finish in 15th place, while team-mate Daniel Ricciardo narrowly missed out on finishing in the points after being overtaken in the closing stages by Lance Stroll.
Reflecting on McLaren’s difficult weekend in Montreal, Seidl revealed a communications error was at fault for the slow pitstop that wrecked Norris’ race.
“Obviously a disappointing day for us, a highly disappointing weekend for various reasons,” said Seidl, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“Reliability issues, an operational issue today in the race, but also in terms of pace, and where we want to be.
“On the operation side during the pitstop today, we had a communications issue that was in the end snowballing into this issue that we have seen. We need to analyse and come back stronger.”
Explaining what went wrong, Seidl said the matter would be reviewed back at McLaren’s factory to ensure the mistake is not repeated.
“Obviously, I don’t want to go too much into detail, because it’s something we have to review internally, as a team what went wrong there,” he said.
“Like I said before, in the end it was down to a communications issue within the team and that was causing the delays then.”
Ricciardo was running in 10th place towards the latter stages but would fail to hold on to the position, which Seidl stressed was down to it ordering both its drivers to manage the car to the chequered flag.
“On both cars towards the end of the race, we had to manage some parameters, the brakes, and therefore it was not possible for Daniel to keep up the pace and to attack.”
Despite McLaren leaving Canada empty handed, the team still sits fourth in the constructors’ standings, but a poor run of results leaves it with only an eight-point buffer over Alpine, while Alfa Romeo is another six points further behind.
Seidl is clear McLaren has to extract more performance out of its car as rivals continue to make inroads.
“Well of course if you look at the last two races, there’s definitely a trend that we have been falling back compared to Alpine especially,” said Seidl. “And also some other cars were showing signs of strong improvements like the Astons on Friday.
“So it is clear that we need to up our game in all areas, like I mentioned before, reliability, operations, performance, to make sure we stay in this battle for P4.”
Speaking about potential upgrades over the coming races, Seidl said there were no plans to introduce any major updates.
“Our idea is obviously to keep learning about the car and apply these learnings in order to extract more out of the current package.” Seidl said.
“So far, there’s no plans for any major upgrades for various reasons, including managing the cost cap as well.”