McLaren boss Andreas Seidl believes the team’s 2018 drivers, Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne, deserve credit for their role in its 2019 form.
McLaren endured a difficult 2018 as the end of its Honda partnership exposed previously hidden weaknesses, and the team spent much of the campaign towards the back of the midfield.
But the MCL34 has been a far more competitive package than its predecessor, with McLaren now holding fourth in the Constructors’ Championship, 20 points clear of Renault.
“I think no one expected inside the team last year that we could, after finishing the season as the ninth-fastest car, to make such a step,” said Seidl, who joined McLaren in May.
“Again, it simply shows that a lot of the changes that have been triggered already last year are paying off. The team did a good job in bringing this year’s car on track. They understood a lot.
“Also with the input from the drivers from last year. I think we should also pay a lot of credit to Fernando and Stoffel, pointing out what the weaknesses were and which direction they had to develop the car, which pays off now.
“And now, obviously the target is for us, this year, to still keep going with the development of the car.”
McLaren introduced an upgrade package for May’s Spanish Grand Prix that assisted its progress, but Seidl believes that it took until the French Grand Prix for the team to truly be the midfield front-runner.
“I think, now, in the last two races, we also had the fourth-fastest car, so I think we deserve to be in P4 now in the Constructors’ Championship,” he said.
“But up until the Paul Ricard race, we have to be honest, we didn’t have the fourth-fastest car. We were always somewhere between the fifth- and seventh-fastest car.
“And in the end we made the results because we had better reliability, better strategy, better pit stops, a better understanding of the tyres I would say.
“It shows that, and obviously I was impressed by that, that we’re very good already in some disciplines and the biggest, let’s say, the topic we have to focus on is simply the car development.”