Lando Norris, McLaren, Monaco, 2019

McLaren’s new car concept for 2020 not a “radical” change – Seidl

2020 F1 season

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McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has played down how aggressive the team intends to be with its new car for the 2020 F1 season.

The team has bounced back from a poor end to last season and is on course to finish fourth in this year’s championship. But although next year’s technical regulations will be largely the same, Seidl says the team has changed some of the concept behind its car for next year.

“I wouldn’t call it ‘radical’,” he said. “but of course with the gap we have to the top cars under the same regulations we tried to make a big or a decent step, which means also that some of the concept stuff we will change.”

“I would say where we are right now this is not a risk it’s an opportunity,” Seidl added.

“Our target is clear we want to make the next step so hopefully we can jump somewhere in between where we are right now and the three top teams. Which would be the next, I think, great achievement for us as a team.”

McLaren has made the biggest lap-time gain of any team at more than half of the races so far this year. However Seidl said only minor updates are coming for the MCL34 over the final races.

“We still have stuff that we bring for this year’s car. The regulations stay pretty much the same so there’s stuff that you can carry over then for next year but it’s not like if we develop our new stuff for next year’s car and then bring it.”

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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
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  • 21 comments on “McLaren’s new car concept for 2020 not a “radical” change – Seidl”

    1. I wouldn’t expext anyone to go nuts trying to make gains seeing as there are major changes in 2021. I think it will be very much a case of evolution of the current cars. But that does not mean the gap between some teams can’t be closed and I do hope for a continued MacLaren revival.

      1. I agree that we are almost certainly going to see mostly a fine tuning of what everyone has for next year @johnrkh. I think for McLaren it might also be a bit of an excersize in how their procedures work for contionual improvement after having been lagging behind for a good amount of years.

    2. James Key’s final few cars at STR have been rather disappointing. Didn’t McLaren already change front wing philosophies in the middle of this year already. What would be different about their 2020 concept? Anyone got any ideas?

      1. Isn’t the STR related part more due to not having budget/staff to continue full development into the 2nd half of the season though @megatron? I think many teams tweaked their initial wing philosophy to be more like the golden cut between outside loaded (RBR, Merc) and inside loaded (Ferrari,Alfa Romeo), not just Mclaren, so I am not quite sure it tells us all that much either.

        I am not quite up to date on where Mclaren lacks the most, is it downforce, efficiency, or suspension? I suppose the answer to that will be where they are spending most effort.

    3. I love the direction McLaren are going in right now. Once they get Mercedes engines they’ll be clear #4.

      From dire straits to #4 was a long way to go. Maybe with good engines they might fight for a win now and then.

      I can only wish for Williams to go the same route. Though not likely. McLaren now have a large car manufacturing part, that is certainly very successful. They are now where Ferrari was years ago.

      Not sure why Williams don’t make cars?

        1. Doesnt Williams also get a good chunk from prize money for being one of the oldest team on grid?

          1. They get a Constructors’ Championship Bonus, which I believe was around $10M, which would have made life a bit easier than if they didn’t get any bonus. However, they’d have gotten slightly more if there weren’t any bonuses at all.

      1. @jureo going with Renault engine showed that McLaren problems were at least as much chassis-related than engine.

        I guess this year’s chassis with a Mercedes engine wouldn’t still be worth a win. For sure it will help, but still some homework to do. It’s a nice progress nonetheless.

        1. I think you need to look at the recent mclaren years more from year by year basis than try to pin all the fault of all of their years to one reason. The honda engine was always their weakest link but many times during those years the chassis was driving very well. While other times it wasn’t. Lots of people also forget that despite 2018 not being a revolutionary year for mclaren they still went from 9th in 2017 to 6th in the championship in that year. Even if you exclude the force india points situation the points score of the mclaren went from 30 to 62. Obviously during all of this this mclaren hasn’t ever had the de facto best chassis but it was pretty good in the twisty bits. I think the ultimate reason for mclaren’s poor form varies and while it has been bad engine 90% of the time it is not 90% every race every season. More often than not the mclaren chassis was not that bad it deserved to finish 9th so many times during 2015-2018. Even if the 2018 was a pancake.

          Mclaren has certainly paid for and put effort into fixing all its issues. They got rid of honda which cost a ton of money but doing that has clearly improved their pace. They have also shaken up their processes which should allow them to build faster cars. Whereas red bull has stagnated with honda mclaren has taken giant steps with renault.

          1. RBR in 1st half of this season was actually clear 2nd best car on grid even taking shock win in Austria and in 2nd half they look stagnant as Ferrari found a solution that fixed problems they had with their car. Overall RBR is still in that no mans land between midfield teams and Top-2 teams on grid.

            1. In races Red Bull were second best, but not in qualifying. And even then, Ferrari was clearly ahead in Bahrain, China, Baku, Canada, France etc.

        2. @spoutnik

          By now, hasn’t it become pretty clear that McLaren’s problems were Alonso-related? However much Honda were paying to buy him a seat, it wasn’t worth it because he wasn’t working for the team – in fact, he was actively working against them when it helped his reputation to do so.

          1. Dave, no, I would disagree with that assessment given the poor technical record that McLaren had in the years proceeding their partnership with Honda and Alonso moving to the team.

            As I have pointed out before, 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, 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.

            Whilst the 2017 Honda still had its flaws, particularly with high fuel consumption, the inefficiency of McLaren’s aerodnyamic package exacerbated a lot of those flaws – meaning that perhaps more of the blame went onto them instead of McLaren, and allowed some of those same mistakes to continue being made into 2018.

            Much of the time, I feel that the desire to want to blame Alonso stems more from those who don’t want to criticise the team for failing to reform when it should have. If you want to blame a particular individual – which, to me, feels like a bit of an oversimplification – I would say that Ron Dennis had a far more negative impact on McLaren in that era.

            Quite a few ex-McLaren staff were complaining back in 2012 and 2013 that Ron’s moves behind the scenes to oust Whitmarsh had a very corrosive impact on the team and encouraged significant factionalism – Perez himself hinted at that when he left McLaren – and created a rather toxic working culture that discouraged people from raising issues with their managers out of fear for their own jobs.

            They could hide their problems for a while thanks to funding from Mercedes when they were the Mercedes works team, but as soon as they lost that support and couldn’t just throw money at their problems, then things started south.

            To me, the real reason for their upturn is McLaren employing a highly respected, technically skilled 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 – quite a bit of which should have taken place under Ron Dennis, but didn’t happen because he refused to accept that McLaren had major technical and managerial issues that he in part helped to create.

            1. Thank you for your full common sense words, @anon.

            2. Thanks for supplying a few more bits to the jigsaw.

    4. If you ask someone if they are interested in joining your Wednesday Night Poker sessions, and they respond, “Sounds like fun, but I am not very good.” Watch out.
      My bet is that regardless of the 2021 potential changes, that all the teams are doing everything they can (afford) for 2020. Evolution will be the order of the day, but we can hope for surprises. There should be a few.

      1. @rekibsn You can compare 2020 with 2013 and 2016 as season right before a large aerodynamic overhaul. And in both 2013 and 2016, the grid was largely a follow-on from the previous season.

    5. i for 1 cant wait for mclaren to back in the front fighting for wins and poles. i am a mclaren fan. i am not satisfied with them being a mid level team. fingers are crossed hoping,praying…

    6. Can anyone with more historical knowledge recall a time in F1 when there were more than 2-3 teams starting a GP weekend that could get pole/the win (discounting rain).

      1. There are a few occasions in which four teams might have considered themselves in with a decent chance: the early 1960s with Lotus, BRM, Ferrari and Cooper, the mid-late 1970s when practically anyone could stick a DFV in the back and be vaguely competitive, the early turbo era when the Renaults, Brabhams and Ferraris blew up often enough that the aspirated cars still had a chance, and the 2012 season which was mad due to Pirelli not quite having got the tires right yet.

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