McLaren principal Andreas Seidl has pinpointed the team’s pit stop performance as being a key area that needs improving in future.
Lando Norris was forced to retire from last month’s Mexican Grand Prix after one of his tyres was cross-threaded during his pit stop.
While there were no major problems for Norris or his team mate Carlos Sainz in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix, the team still didn’t appear in the DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award top ten.
“Pit stops are definitely an area in the team where we still have to improve quite a lot,” Seidl told Crash.net this week.
But he added that it wasn’t just a case of more practice to get the crews working faster. The issues went deeper, he explained.
“We have to help the race team out here, the mechanics especially, by let’s say updating our car hardware and equipment in the future – simply to allow them to do better and [more] reliable pit stops.
“That’s a project we’re working very hard on,” he pledged. “Unfortunately it takes time. It’s part of the process we’re in at the moment to become a better team.”
McLaren certainly had a better time at the Circuit of the Americas than they did the previous week in Mexico City where they ended up out of the points for the first time since Spa.
This week, seventh and eighth for Norris and Sainz respectively yielded a total of ten points – matching the tally accrued by their mid-field rivals Renault.
“Having underperformed last Sunday in Mexico we needed to bounce back here,” Seidl agreed. “So it was good to secure another 10 vital points in our fight for P4 in the constructors’ championship.
“Our teamwork [in Austin] was key to our overall performance,” he added. “From the mechanics, the engineering team here and back at our home base, and from the drivers, who’ve both put in very strong performances all weekend.”
With just two races remaining in the 2019 season, McLaren’s 38 point lead in the constructors championship has virtually assured them the ‘best of the rest’ honours in the final standings.
It confirms a renaissance for the team, which was second from bottom just two years ago after a long decline from their heyday and their last team title in 1998, and the drivers championship won by Lewis Hamilton in 2008.
But Seidl admits that taking the next step in the team’s recovery – catching the Big Three teams at the top – is a very different challenge.
“The difference to the top three teams is not just car performance but also how they pull it off weekend by weekend,” he said of why Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull were so far ahead of the rest.
“The consistency they are having in their results, and that’s something we are working on very hard.”