McLaren wants to halve gap to F1's top three in 2020
McLaren says its sight are set on halving the gap to the top three teams in 2020 as it bids to build on the progress it has made this season.
With its restructuring now complete following the arrival of team boss Andreas Seidl and technical director James Key, the focus is on making sure that it carries forward the current momentum and lifts it gave even more next season.
And that is why it is eager to shift efforts more on to its 2020 car so it can work on breaking free of the midfield pack and close down the advantage that Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari have.
Seidl said: "Our ambition is that next year we can go somewhere in-between the gap we are having at the moment, between the top three teams and us.
"If you look at the lap times we are somewhere between 1-1.5 seconds away from the top three teams, and our target is to jump somewhere in-between that."
Although Key only joined McLaren earlier this year, the team sees no reason for him to revolutionise next year's design and do something totally different to the current concept.
"I would say for us that next year will be an evolution rather than a revolution," explained Seidl. "We have a good pace now, we learned a lot with that car, we know what the weaknesses are and that is something we want to address for next year.
"For us, where we think the next step will come with car performance is that have we started this time, and it is the first time for a while, with a normal timing of doing a car.
"We started straight after winter testing with an initial concept phase of next year's car, which is different to previous years, and that fact together with having a clear technical director in place gives me a lot of hope. I am optimistic we can make the next step.
"But we need to be realistic. As I have said many times, there is no magic. The gap to the front is still huge but the aim is to get somewhere in-between next year."
Seidl said that the desire to make a step in 2020 was a reason why the team was now having to think about how soon it can switch its focus to the new car.
"The key now for the second half of the season will be when to really get to the point where we can switch full focus to next year's car," he said.
"Obviously results like Hungary help us with that decision because one thing is also clear with the performance: the gap to the front is still huge and we clearly have to target to make the next step next year."
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