Third-placed team from the last year’s F1 Championship McLaren wants to be competitive from the first race this year despite major changes involving a change of powertrain and new driver Daniel Ricciardo who will only have a day and a half in the new car.
McLaren is returning to the Mercedes power units last used in 2014 after a very successful last two seasons with Renault which they finished in third (2020) and fourth (2019) place, and Carlos Sainz will be replaced by Daniel Ricciardo.
The team from Woking will thus have a winning driver again after two seasons with Sainz and Norris, and despite the change of power unit and the new driver they want to be competitive from the first race in Bahrain.
“Our goal is clear,” said team principal Seidl.
“Until the first race, we have a plan to integrate the Mercedes power unit and Daniel. We want to be as competitive as possible from the first race of the season.”
“We have a very talented team, a very dedicated team with a lot of experience. Our colleagues from Brixworth [Mercedes’s power unit development headquarters] are also very experienced, as is Daniel.”
“We are aware of the challenges. At the same time, we are confident that we will be able to overcome those challenges over the winter and that we will be in good shape in the first race.”
By switching to the best power unit in Formula 1, whose benefits are not limited to engine power, McLaren will benefit in terms of performance, but due to the changes they have to make to the car, they will have to spend development tokens on these modifications, unlike other teams who can spend them on the development of other areas.
Also, some teams like AlphaTauri and Racing Point will get a new rear suspension from Red Bull and Mercedes from 2020 (this year they used a 2019 suspension) without having to spend tokens on it.
“But we accepted that, and we’re still happy with the compromise.”
“Our main focus with Daniel is integration in the technical and sports fields. At the same time, we have a plan for his integration as a team member in communication, marketing and business.”
“Our goal is to make him feel at home as soon as possible.”