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
Why the lack of "needle" between Red Bull and Ferrari in F1 2022 is a mirage Prime

Why the lack of "needle" between Red Bull and Ferrari in F1 2022 is a mirage

OPINION: The fight for the 2022 Formula 1 world titles between Red Bull and Ferrari so far features little of the public animosity that developed between the former and Mercedes last year. But that isn’t to say things are full on friendly or won’t get much worse very quickly…

The underdog F1 squad that thrust Senna into the limelight Prime

The underdog F1 squad that thrust Senna into the limelight

The Toleman TG184 was the car that could, according to legend, have given Ayrton Senna his first F1 win but for Alain Prost and Jacky Ickx at Monaco in 1984. That could be stretching the boundaries of the truth a little, but as STUART CODLING explains, the team's greatest legacy was in giving the Brazilian prodigy passed over by bigger outfits an opportunity

Formula 1
May 16, 2022
Why Aston Martin is unlikely to repeat Jaguar’s F1 mistakes Prime

Why Aston Martin is unlikely to repeat Jaguar’s F1 mistakes

Two famous manufacturer teams born out of humble midfield origins, splashing the cash while attempting to rise to the top of F1 in record time. There are clear parallels between Lawrence Stroll’s Aston Martin and the doomed Jaguar Racing project of 22 years ago, but Mark Gallagher believes struggling Aston can avoid a similar fate.

Formula 1
May 15, 2022
How rejuvenated Haas recovered its F1 mojo Prime

How rejuvenated Haas recovered its F1 mojo

US-owned but until recently Russian-backed, Haas seems to have reached a turning point in car performance after three gruesome seasons. And it needs to if it’s to attract fresh investment. Team boss Gunther Steiner tells Oleg Karpov how close Haas came to the abyss.

Formula 1
May 14, 2022
How F1 race leaders have now lost their comfort blanket Prime

How F1 race leaders have now lost their comfort blanket

As Formula 1 teams have settled down in understanding the new generation of cars and the way they need to maximise their performance, fresh lessons have emerged. Jonathan Noble investigates how they have brought with them an all-new kind of grand prix racing

Formula 1
May 12, 2022
Gilles Villeneuve's 10 greatest F1 drives Prime

Gilles Villeneuve's 10 greatest F1 drives

Formula 1 lost one of its brightest stars when Gilles Villeneuve was killed during practice for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix. Forty years on, Motorsport.com picks out the greatest drives by a Ferrari legend

Formula 1
May 11, 2022
The silver lining of Ferrari’s Miami GP defeat Prime

The silver lining of Ferrari’s Miami GP defeat

OPINION: Much was made of Formula 1’s first Miami Grand Prix – what turned out to be a very ‘marmite’ event for both those in attendance and everyone following on TV. But even as the on-track battle between Red Bull and Ferrari it produced continued the negative run of results for the red team, it contained a glimmer it must hope continues to shine

Formula 1
May 11, 2022
How imperfect Miami offered F1's drivers a unique challenge Prime

How imperfect Miami offered F1's drivers a unique challenge

OPINION: Despite all of the stylistic embellishments festooning Formula 1's inaugural Miami Grand Prix, the Miami International Autodrome offered the drivers a unique challenge and punished driver errors; a stark contrast to the usual cast of modern-day circuits

Formula 1
May 10, 2022