McLaren "hasn't progressed at all" in 2018 - Vandoorne

Stoffel Vandoorne believes McLaren has not made any progress in Formula 1 this season after admitting it is “difficult to get a worse weekend” than the Belgian Grand Prix.

McLaren "hasn't progressed at all" in 2018 - Vandoorne

Vandoorne was last of the 15 finishers at Spa, having qualified slowest as both he and teammate Fernando Alonso lacked pace from the opening practice session.

McLaren’s slump means it has scored points in three of the last eight races, which has dropped it away from the Renault/Haas fight for fourth in constructors’ championship and closer to Toro Rosso and the Honda engine McLaren ditched for 2018.

Vandoorne said: “It’s difficult to get a worse weekend. We’ve seen the performance we have is very far away from being good.

“There’s not really an explanation.

“The reality is we haven’t progressed since the start of the year, we haven’t progressed at all compared to the others.”

Alonso has previously pointed out that McLaren has suffered from not bringing major updates this season, apart from in Spain.

McLaren has had trouble identifying aerodynamic stalls on its car in the windtunnel, which has stopped it fixing its problems.

Race retiree Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33 following his crash

Race retiree Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33 following his crash

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Sutton Images

The team's sporting director Gil de Ferran said the race, which Alonso was eliminated from after being sent airborne in a spectacular first-corner crash, was “a disappointing end to a difficult weekend”.

After qualifying, de Ferran had pointed out that although McLaren has primarily struggled with the aerodynamic performance of its MCL33 this year, Spa also exposed a major top speed deficit that has also contributed to McLaren’s struggles.

McLaren was 2.3 seconds off the pace in qualifying, its relative deficit almost a second bigger than what it was in the same session last year.

It is understood to be suffering from misjudged gear ratios, set at the start of the year, which at Spa left them bouncing off the rev limiter too early.

“There’s no shying away that it’s been a difficult year so far,” said de Ferran.

“This is a difficult car [and] particularly this weekend has exposed a lot of our weaknesses, mainly in straightline speed.

“The car has other issues as well, but that’s a big one which became very apparent here.”

Vandoorne said McLaren cannot hide from its bad performance in Belgium, which he admitted did not come as a surprise.

He hopes next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, on a Monza circuit that is even more power-sensitive, will be better but said McLaren will probably need to wait a bit longer for better weekend based on its showing at Spa.

“There haven’t been many encouraging things this weekend,” he said. “It wasn’t the nicest race of the year.

“Monza will be very difficult again. It’s again a circuit with a lot of straights

“We’ll see. Maybe we have a couple of opportunities later in the year to score some points, like in Singapore.”

Additional reporting by Filip Cleeren

shares
comments
How Vettel's victory exposed Mercedes' "many deficits"
Previous article

How Vettel's victory exposed Mercedes' "many deficits"

Next article

Belgian Grand Prix driver ratings

Belgian Grand Prix driver ratings
Load comments
How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in F1 2021 battle Prime

How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in F1 2021 battle

Supremacy in the McLaren vs Ferrari fight over third place in the constructors’ championship has ebbed and flowed between the two teams so far in the 2021 Formula 1 season. But for several key reasons, right now it seems the advantage has swung decisively back to the Scuderia and McLaren knows it.

The details that boosted Verstappen and held back Hamilton in Austin Prime

The details that boosted Verstappen and held back Hamilton in Austin

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon in Texas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Prime

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment.

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Why a misunderstood Kimi Raikkonen will thrive in retirement Prime

Why a misunderstood Kimi Raikkonen will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man Anthony Peacock explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it).

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
How Verstappen has become F1 champion material Prime

How Verstappen has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle Prime

Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be set to be another close contest.

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Prime

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021