McLaren: Getting to grips with Mercedes engine key ahead of new F1 rules

Andreas Seidl feels it was “very important” for McLaren to get on top of working with its new Mercedes Formula 1 power unit in 2021 ahead of the new regulations.

McLaren: Getting to grips with Mercedes engine key ahead of new F1 rules
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McLaren rekindled its famed partnership with Mercedes for the 2020 season, having previously enjoyed works support from the German manufacturer from 1995 for 2014.

While McLaren slipped to fourth place in the constructors' standings behind Ferrari, the team enjoyed a strong season as it scored 73 more points and picked up its first win for nearly nine years in the Italian Grand Prix with Daniel Ricciardo.

Changing power unit suppliers can often be a difficult and challenging period for teams, but McLaren managed to hit the ground running with Mercedes after integrating the new power unit into its car despite the majority freeze in the regulations.

McLaren F1 boss Seidl felt it was important for the team to have got on top of working with Mercedes ahead of the new technical regulations from 2022, allowing it to confidently design its car around the power unit.

"We have a great team in place, we have all the talents in place that I think we need in order to make the next steps," Seidl said.

"We simply need time. We are ambitious of course, but at the same time you need time to see the results of that, and I'm very happy we could make this next step.

"One very important thing this year was to get our partnership with Mercedes up and running through this year before the new technical regulations come into place.

"We could gain a lot of experience this year already with the Mercedes power unit, and [it] puts us in a better position designing a completely new car for next year knowing already the Mercedes power unit.

"So that was a job really well done as well on both sides."

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

McLaren enjoyed a decent buffer over Ferrari in the fight for P3 after winning at Monza and coming close to victory in Russia with Lando Norris, but ultimately finished the year 48.5 points behind.

Seidl admitted it was "painful" to lose so much ground during the final triple-header of the season, across which McLaren scored only four points, but was encouraged it could take the fight to Ferrari and Red Bull on occasion.

"It was simply a great season for us for a lot of reasons," Seidl said.

"We made a big step forward again with the car, in terms of getting closer with the lap times in quali and in the race to Mercedes and Red Bull.

"We were even in a position this year to occasionally challenge them at the tracks which were suiting our car.

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"In terms of reliability we had a very good season, again in terms of operational strength out here at the track. We made steps forward also with consistency and speed of the pitstops.

"And simply the way how we work together as a team was clearly for me the next step again, which is the most important thing for me to see.

"We made a major reset to the team two years ago in terms of organisation, culture, and we created now stability which hasn't been there before at McLaren for several years."

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