McLaren will continue to drip feed developments through on its 2021 car, the MCL35M, but says at some point in the not too distant future, it will have to switch its entire focus to next year.
McLaren is caught in a tight midfield battle to secure third place in the Constructors’ Championship, with Ferrari, its nearest rival, just five points adrift following a strong showing from the Scuderia in Spain last weekend.
Whilst McLaren is still pushing to secure third for the second season in a row and will continue to develop its MCL35M, team principal Andreas Seidl says they’re “not far away” from switching development focus entirely to 2022.
“If you look since the first test this year onwards we tried to continuously bring updates to the car, to continuously make steps forward with the performance,” Seidl said during the Spanish GP weekend.
“We’ve also brought upgrades for example to Portimao, we’ve brought updates for the car also here in free practice. And our plan is to still bring further updates also in the coming races.
“It’s obviously a very tight battle, especially with Ferrari, and it’s simply important to make sure we keep bringing upgrades to the car in the next races in order to keep this battle of P3 alive.”
However with the huge regulatory changes planned for next year, teams are having to balance their development so as to not compromise their start to F1’s new era, which will see the return of ground effect cars.
Whilst Seidl is keen to keep pushing this year, the call to switch focus isn’t far off: “It’s clear that we are not far away from switching over completely the entire team, entire development team, to fully focusing on next year’s car.
“So I still think it will depend in the end if there’s still any low hanging fruit around for this year’s car in terms of development, which we then want to further explore.
“But overall I think James [Key] has a clear idea of when he wants to fully switch over to next year.”