McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has commented on the team’s woeful performance at the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix.
After a promising showing at the first pre-season test in Barcelona, McLaren suffered brake issues during the second week in Bahrain, limiting them to 199 laps of running through Lando Norris.
It compounded the news that Daniel Ricciardo would be missing the entire second test after testing positive for COVID-19, and his return a week later sadly did not yield any more joy.
The Australian was knocked out of the first phase of qualifying before Norris failed to make Q3 meaning that, for the first time since 2020, neither McLaren featured in the top 10 shootout in qualifying.
Ricciardo came home 14th ahead of Norris in the race, but their fortunes appeared to improve in Saudi Arabia.
They were able to compete a lot more closely with the other midfield runners as the 22-year-old managed a P7 finish.
Reliability failures struck them again as Ricciardo failed to finish the second round of the season, but Seidl emphasises that positive steps have been taken since the tricky second test.
“It’s still obviously early in the season. It’s a long season. We will have to see now simply how the car is working, and this package, on different track layouts,” he said, quoted by Speedcafe.
“Jeddah is obviously a different track to [Bahrain]. It looks like this track has exposed us to the weaknesses our package is having quite a lot.
“But in the end, it’s also clear our ambition must be to have a competitive car on all kind of track layouts, and that’s what we have to focus on.”
The new technical regulations introduced this year are aimed at allowing drivers to stick with each other more closely, while bigger tyres are expected to improve the longevity of on-track battles.
Seidl appears to agree with Fernando Alonso’s previous remark that the new cars are helping the drivers stay with each other, but tyre degradation precluded the Woking team’s drivers from getting overtakes done in Bahrain.
“When the tyres actually had an advantage compared to the guys that were running on soft, and when they started to [degrade], the underlying issue [was] that we simply didn’t have enough performance and not enough grip in the car,” he added.
“It didn’t allow us, despite getting close to cars, to overtake. On the positive side, we managed now, with two cars, to finally do a race distance.”
Ricciardo suggested before the race in Jeddah that there was an element of “confusion” among McLaren surrounding their issues in Bahrain, and the German is adamant that his team needs to resolve their hindrances as quickly as possible to give his drivers a more competitive car.
“Hopefully this gives us all some learnings which you can benefit from already for next week in Jeddah on a track that is a completely different track layout as well,” he affirmed.
“But independent of that, it’s clear that we have a lack of performance in the package.
“We are [working] really hard now back home in order to understand why that is to define how we can get back on track as quickly as possible, because Lando and Daniel deserve a better car.”
McLaren are eighth in the Constructors’ Standings after the first two rounds of 2022, ahead only of Aston Martin and Williams, who have failed to score any points.