Carlos Sainz Jnr praised his new McLaren after the first day of testing but is concerned about the degree of co-operation between their midfield rivals and top teams like Mercedes and Red Bull.
[smr2020test]After covering 161 laps on the first day of testing, Sainz said McLaren couldn’t have made a better start to its 2020 campaign.
“The first impression is that to complete 160 laps on the first day of testing is already quite a big achievement,” he said. “We hit the ground running this morning. We were into our run plan very quickly and the positive thing is that we completed every single lap that we had planned for.
“Basically we couldn’t do more laps because there are not more tyres available. We didn’t have a single problem in the car of reliability, which meant we ended the day doing pit stop practice and some starts with not much more do.
“So I’m very, very happy and the feeling with the car was positive also. It was quick out of the box, I was feeling comfortable with it and we hit the track and started testing things very quickly.”
Sainz set the sixth-fastest time behind the two Mercedes drivers, their customer team Racing Point, plus the Red Bull and their customer AlphaTauri. The similarities between the two customer teams’ cars and the factory machines drew much attention, and Sainz is concerned about how strong a threat such customer teams may pose to McLaren this year.
“A team like McLaren always has pressure to deliver,” he said. “McLaren is one of the best teams in the history of Formula 1 and we know that fourth, fifth is still not where McLaren wants to be.
“But McLaren also knows that this is still very early on this new project that we have put ourselves and we are looking at the medium-longer term target of fighting for the top positions again. It’s very difficult to say at the moment.
“So we don’t depend on what the others are doing. We depend on what we can do. And at the moment we can only focus on ourselves, keep doing the steps that we’re doing. Like the ’35 car hitting the track and doing a lot of laps, and feeling the car already a step better than last year on the first day, and opening windows of development.
“That’s the only thing we can do at the moment and we cannot think in what the others are doing.”
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