McLaren: Two quick drivers ‘key’ to F1 resurgence

McLaren Formula 1 team principal Andreas Seidl acknowledged that having two closely matched drivers is key to the team's recent resurgence, which fuelled the decision to snap up Daniel Ricciardo for 2021.

McLaren: Two quick drivers ‘key’ to F1 resurgence

After a rough patch, McLaren worked its way back up the grid under team boss Seidl and technical director James Key. Drivers Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz proved to be a competitive pairing, ultimately handing McLaren third place in the 2020 championship.

With Sainz leaving McLaren to join Ferrari, the Woking team moved quickly to snap up Ricciardo from Renault as his replacement for 2021.

Ricciardo and Norris were closely matched in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, starting sixth and seventh on the grid respectively, before grabbing a combined 18 points for the team on Sunday, which meant McLaren vaulted back up to third in the constructors' championship.

Seidl explained it was key to McLaren's resurgence - and its fight against teams with intrinsically quicker cars - to have two drivers capable of fighting at the front of F1's stacked midfield to secure a consistent haul of points. It is also the reason why the team took on Ricciardo.

"As you can imagine it was obviously important for me that when we made the decision to go for Daniel that we simply made sure for the team that we have again also from this year onwards, a very strong driver line-up," Seidl explained after Bahrain qualifying.

"Because key in the last two years for securing these positions we could secure in the constructors' championship was that we always had two drivers who were there and always ready to score good points.

"I'm really happy with what we have seen so far from both guys. It's great that we again seem to have a very strong driver line-up. We managed to get through both cars [in] Q3, both guys always very close together."

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

During the Bahrain race Ricciardo dropped from sixth to seventh with a damaged floor after being struck by AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly on the opening lap.

Norris climbed from seventh to fourth in one of his best F1 drives so far, which according to Seidl was proof that the young Briton "has made the next step" as a driver.

Commenting on the performance of his team after F1's season-opener, Seidl added that he was "very happy with what the team pulled off this weekend, because I think again the hard work everyone has put in over winter was paying off."

Seidl was particularly encouraged to see Ricciardo and Norris get to within nine tenths of Max Verstappen's pole time, a margin three tenths smaller than the team managed in qualifying for the 2020 race.

"The gap we had to pole position was smaller compared to what we could do last time we have been here in Bahrain, which is again an encouraging sign that we're making a step as a team with the car towards the front and that we are heading in the right direction," Seidl said.

Read Also:

shares
comments

Related video

F1 sprint race plan set for green light as teams agree finances

Previous article

F1 sprint race plan set for green light as teams agree finances

Next article

Juan Pablo Montoya: Sprint races are the way forward for Formula One

Juan Pablo Montoya: Sprint races are the way forward for Formula One
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams McLaren
Author Filip Cleeren
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Prime

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Prime

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Prime

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping .

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Prime

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is no guarantee.

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The themes to watch in F1's Imola return Prime

The themes to watch in F1's Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Prime

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. Ben Anderson looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Prime

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says Nigel Roebuck.

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Prime

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021