Carlos Sainz Jnr, McLaren, Hungaroring, 2019

McLaren very encouraged by performance on “weakest” track

2019 Hungarian Grand Prix

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McLaren’s performance in the Hungarian Grand Prix has given the team a confidence boost as it expected the Hungaroring would be one of the most difficult tracks for their car.

The team previously identified its performance in slow corners as one of its most significant weaknesses. However the teams cars swept the fourth row of the grid, with only the much quicker Red Bulls, Mercedes and Ferraris ahead, and Carlos Sainz Jnr equalled their best result of the season so far with fifth position in the race.

Team principal Andreas Seidl praised the team’s performance.

“On a track where we thought we have a lot of low-speed stuff, also where we definitely had a weakness on the car, to see now that we could cure some of these issues with the updates we were bringing and with understanding the car better and better and how to use it, it’s obviously great,” he said.

“Clearly we have been the fourth quickest car around here and obviously a big boost now for us going into the break first of all. And then also for the second half of the season because we have some more tracks coming up with low-speed sections like Singapore and so on. That’s obviously very, very encouraging.

“We will still bring parts also after the summer break, updates. So well done also to the aero department at home to pull off all these updates. It looks good obviously now for the fight for [fourth] in the constructors championship in the second half.”

McLaren raced its aerodynamic upgrades in Hungary despite rain on Friday limiting their opportunity to test them, Seidl added.

“We had a new rear wing and some additional small bits which worked out of the box because we had really limited running on Friday. So there wasn’t really time to go through the normal test programme. [It’s] very encouraging.”

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2019 F1 season

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23 comments on “McLaren very encouraged by performance on “weakest” track”

  1. Small steps in right direction.

    1. Zak has all along, been saying all the right things, as soon as he got power, he stopped the nonsense some of which very transparent in the amazon documentary. Zak came with a reality check broke the culture got rid of the old guard and establish a humble, inexperienced and rational team, last years they’ve tried to understand what was wrong and this season we see a marked improvement, makes seidl look good but it has little to do with him at the moment. McLaren used to come up with novel designs that did not work but this season they’ve been intelligent and have mostly gone the mercedes way chassis and aero wise. Since Honda this team has been strong on slow speed corners particularly out of chicanes and braking, they ironically had their better results on power tracks where they benefitted on the chicanes, so I don’t know where this remark comes from, however the car used to be very understeery and that would not work in Hungary as it didn’t in the past.

    2. It was clear the minute Alonso left that the trajectory would be up up up.

  2. It’s amusing – and somewhat embarrassing – to see how much my feelings towards McLaren have done a 180 – last year, I was probably jeering at almost every utterance from Zak or Alonso (in my head, if not in the comments), this year I have nothing but admiration for them, their achievements, their team principal and driver pairing.

    I can’t believe this is the same team that experienced Freddogate and had rumours swirling at a Whitmarsh return. For all the stick he got last year, Zak took the proper long term decision by parting ways with Boullier and bringing Seidl onboard.

    As said by Seidl, they seem to be cementing that 4th place in the WCC, and showing a clean pair of heels to Renault in the process.

    Now that’s two customer teams that Renault have been bested by. Something’s got to give at Renault.

    1. Seidl is a godsend. He’s the key.

      1. @selbbin given that he only started during May of this year, I am not quite sure that Seidl can be the sole key; but, I agree @phylyp, his communication has been great – and it might not be coincidence that since he joined it all started working for them.

        Still, the development of this car during last year and their winter program surely must be very different from the very sad picture what we were able to see in that intriguing documentary of two years ago.

      2. I would say Key is also the key, no?

        They’ve got a great setup now, great drivers, and a drive to get back into Formula 1 from Formula 1.5

        As a McLaren fan of over 20 years (Since DC joined), it’s so good to see after the horror show that was the Honda years.

    2. Boullier was not the problem with Mclaren, matter of fact, he couldn’t really function with the setup they had.
      The aero department got things wrong. Boullier doesn’t design cars.
      Zak has only just grabbed power.

    3. Well said. They must be close to pulling the plug at Renault, especially in light of the Ghosn mess. They might even quit the engine side.

  3. Glad to see McLaren is back on the right track. But as a Belgian I’m also quite disappointed my countryman Vandoorne never got to show what he can do with a capable car.

    1. Fair comment. The fact that the current drivers are doing a stellar job also means that no one has thought to ask the question “How would Stoffel have fared in this car?”

    2. I don’t think it was the position he drove in that was the determining factor, everyone could see the car wasn’t competitive. The issue was the size of the gap to his teammate, Alonso blew Vandoorne away.

  4. Hakk The Rack
    6th August 2019, 11:58

    Smooooooth operatoooooors!!! Smoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooth operaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaatorrrrrrrrrrrrsssssss!!!

    1. Vamos Vamos Vamos Vamos 😂

  5. I had somewhat reserved expectations for mclaren this year. Before the season I did not rate sainz that highly and norris was a big question mark. Alonso was driving very well and I expected the loss of alonso would have hurt mclaren a lot more than it has. Both of the drivers have been delivering good performances and clearly the car has taken a step forward as well. Sainz being just 5 points away from gasly’s 6th position and mclaren being 4th in the championship with considerable points margin also prove it is not a fluke but result of consistent performance.

    It is an upward trend and the thing f1 needs more than anything else is more cars in the division 1 and with this trend mclaren is on the road to be there in couple of years. The renault engine is going to hurt them when they get there and while the technological race for 2020 is too soon the upcoming big rule change could put mclaren into very good position now that they have their technical team in good form.

    1. Mclaren got their car design so wrong last season that it became pointless even trying to correct all the errors.
      They just used the rest of the season to test new components.

  6. Before the beginning of the season I thought that Renault would be the 4th team, by far.
    Mclaren is a pleasant surprise and I hope that next year they will be in the mix for podium positions.

  7. They have to work on the car even more since the Renault engine is good enough, probably better then Honda.. if they do well they can scrap for podiums next year..

  8. McLaren right now reminds me a lot of Force India in recent times. Never started the season with the fourth fastest car, but through consistent developments and a good understanding of the car, as well as reliable drivers, they have been able to run away with fourth place in 2016, 2017 and 2018 (FI + RPFI). However, I still my doubts as to whether they’ll be able to reach the top 3’s level at all.

  9. Why would they think Hungary would be one of their weaker races?
    They do know that Hungary is a track where engine power, or lack thereof, is less important than elsewhere?

    1. They could see that in other races that they were losing most of the time in low speed corners while they were doing good in mid/high speed corners and straights.

      Engine power in Renault doesn’t seem that bad anymore. In Canada? McLaren was able to drag race Red Bull out of the corners and in every race Renault seems to allow for really good starts. Engine deficit between teams seems to have been reduced.

    2. They’ve been struggling with low speed corners all season. Hungary is low speed corner heavy. The fact that the car was so planted and agile (Look at how Norris was playing with so much more confidence trying to overtake after his bad pitstop) was actually very unexpected.

      Spa should be fun!

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