McLaren Racing boss Zak Brown says the F1 team’s primary goal this season is to further close the gap to the dominant Mercedes squad.
Continued improvements and consistency allowed McLaren to snatch the final spot on the podium of the Constructors’ championship last season behind Mercedes and Red Bull.
The Woking-based team’s switch to Mercedes power this year and the arrival of Daniel Ricciardo support McLaren’s ambitions of taking another step forward.
But beyond McLaren holding its own in F1’s pecking order, Brown says his team has especially set its sights on inching closer to Grand Prix racing’s uncontested leading outfit.
“The field is unbelievably close, but challenging for the championship would be unrealistic given the journey that we are on,” Brown said during McLaren’s team 2021 presentation on Monday evening.
“I think all we can hope for, and are striving for, is to close the gap to Mercedes, who we anticipate to be the fastest team again in 2021.
“The rules haven’t changed significantly, so I don’t think that 2021 will look much different from 2020 for the entire grid, other than expecting it to get yet even closer.
“We went into Abu Dhabi [in 2020] with the ability to finish third, fourth or fifth, and I think it’s that close and anticipate it being even closer this year.
“So, all we can really do is key off who is the fastest team and hope that we close the gap, but short of that it’s too competitive to give any sort of prediction.”
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McLaren F1 boss Andreas Seidl knows that progressively bridging the gap to Mercedes is a tall order, but the German also believes that it has all the right ingredients to sustain its uptrend.
“Going into this year, we expect again another tough battle with all the competitors we were fighting with last year,” Seidl added.
“We have Lando now going into his third year in F1, we have Daniel on board with us, who is a clear reference in this sport.
“We have the championship-winning power unit in the back of our car, and I think we have everything we need to make a step forward. As a team also, with how we work together.
“It is clear we want to get closer to the cars in front of us, to the Mercedes and the Red Bull cars, which we managed last year. At the same, we want to make sure we gain to all the competitors around us.
“I think there’s a lot of reason to be optimistic and again, we need to be realistic and that’s how we see it.”
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