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McLaren

McLaren explain why they haven't brought any updates to Jeddah

McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl has explained why the Woking-based team didn't bring any updates along to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, despite their lack of competitiveness at the first race.

Norris Saudi
Article
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

McLaren opted not to bring along any updates for their MCL36 to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the second round of the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship, despite a lack of pace at the season opener.

Having fared well in the opening pre-season test in Barcelona, McLaren struggled with issues on their front axle through the second test week in Bahrain.

The setback carried over into the first race weekend, with drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo both reporting a fundamental lack of grip and downforce from their new machine.

With just a week between the first two races, McLaren did not send any new parts to Jeddah, with team boss Andreas Seidl explaining the decision on Friday afternoon.

"With all the firefighting we had to do between the test and the race, the team was very, very busy to fully focus on this mission, which took a lot of capacity away for doing other things in parallel as well, which is obviously a bit of a compromise," Seidl told media, including RacingNews365.com.

"At the same time, I think with parts we have in the pipeline - which we have - they are not ready yet due to that reason, or not really a step forward for this specific track.

"For example, we are happy with the rear wing we have in place for here which we also used in Bahrain."

McLaren are addressing their car's lack of grip

Neither Norris nor Ricciardo have complained about the overall balance of the MCL36, with Seidl commenting that the drivers aren't experiencing any specific issues.

As a result, he believes there is plenty of potential to be unlocked from the car as the season goes on, rather than it being a case of attempting to get on top of the shortcomings of a bad design.

"We clearly see we simply don't have enough performance, we don't have enough grip, which is, in the end, a result of missing mechanical grip [and], at the same time, aerodynamic load on the car," he said.

"That's what we are working on at the moment back home [at the factory in Woking], to see how we can unlock more performance as quickly as possible, or bring more performance to the car with new parts.

"We don't have a specific problem really, the car is working... there is not a specific problem in terms of balance when you listen to the comments from the drivers.

"I think we have a healthy platform, it's just overall grip [is] missing."

A test of morale after three years on the rise

With McLaren seemingly falling from the upper midfield into the lower midfield, it's the first drop in performance from the team since the 2018 season.

Seidl said this has not had a notable effect on morale in the ranks, but admitted that it represents the first major challenge for his team leadership.

"I think the most important thing in such situations when you lack performance is that you have a clear idea - after the analysis we have done, and after the reality we have seen in Bahrain - what is missing," he commented.

"Now we know what we have to work on and what the goal is in terms of what we have to find. That's what the entire team is focusing on now.

"It was important after Bahrain that we got this reality check to make sure that we switch this disappointment that we all felt as quickly as possible into a positive energy again."

He added: "After the good development we had in the team in the last three years, where the sun was always shining and we were always moving forward, it's the first time when we've experienced such a setback for us as a team.

"It's a test now, where we can show that everything we've put in place in terms of organisation, in terms of culture, that we are able to deal with that situation."

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F1 2022 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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