McLaren: 2019 focus behind recent slump in F1 form

McLaren Sporting Director Gil de Ferran reckons understanding its current weaknesses to avoid a 2019 repeat is behind its recent slump in form in Formula 1.

McLaren began 2018 with three double points finishes from the opening four Grands Prix to lead the midfield group, but it has since slipped to sixth in the standings.

That would be seventh without Force India’s mid-season exclusion and re-entry, with McLaren having amassed just 18 points across the last 12 Grands Prix.

It suffered a double Q1 elimination in both Russia and Japan and failed to score in either race.

“I think we needed to gain an understanding of some of the issues that we were having, what was the root cause of these issues,” said de Ferran.

“Some of the developments that we have tried didn’t quite work, and then you have to go and understand why that is. And that happened earlier in the year.

“We have brought a few things, but it’s a race of development as well as you know, so you don’t live in an absolute world in that sense.

“I think there is a lot of truth to the fact that we are very focused on next year’s car and trying to make a better car so we can be more competitive. I think there is a variety of factors.

“I think the car this year in certain circuits really exposes some of the weaknesses that we have.

“It’s hard to think that two races ago in Singapore, we had a very good race.

“Fernando [Alonso] for part of the race held fastest lap in a very genuine way, and we finished in what I thought was a very strong seventh position.

McLaren will enter 2019 with an all-new line-up of Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lando Norris.