Now that the 2019 F1 season is done and dusted, it is time for McLaren to take stock of its recent progress. One of the key figures behind its steep learning and growth curve is certainly Andreas Seidl, who undertook the role of team principal back in May.
During the Abu Dhabi GP Zak Brown had the chance to break down the first six months of the German in Woking, enhancing the fact that he has turned out to be an instrumental prompt at building the foundation for the upcoming seasons. Seidl was the mastermind behind the McLaren-Mercedes call, a potentially ground-breaking move in the engine manufacturers’ (and even constructors’) scene for 2021 onwards.
“Ultimately I’ve asked him ‘Tell me what you need to get us back to being a world champion team’ -said Brown- so what I am expecting him to do is bring forward engine contracts up, [tell me] where we are short on technical resources, he wanted a new wind tunnel. Those are the decisions I’ve asked him to take, to bring to me, that I can bring to the board and it’s working very well”.
The CEO hailed the synergy between himself and Seidl, outlining that there was the need of a figure endowed with a strong technical background. Therefore, Brown’s role as team principal, was temporary since the beginning as he started addressing McLaren’s issues and lack of focus.
“We’ve always been on the same page, you know we’ve got two different skill sets. When we were transitioning team principals I was more visible because I needed to provide some leadership and fill a void until Andreas started but I’ve always known that I needed someone to lead the F1 team”.
“He’s got the technical engineering background to run a racing team and I don’t, so we’re getting along extremely well, we’ve not had a single disagreement, we challenge each other, we push each other hard and I think that’s a really god strength for the organization as well”.
Brown highlighted that McLaren must concentrate on not going backwards as it sets its sights on the top teams, and 2020 will be a crucial year in that process. It will also be the final season with McLaren as a client of Renault, after the expiry of their three-year deal sealed in September 2017. Aside from engine deals, McLaren also had quite a long history of fuel suppliers in the recent years, from Mobil1 to BP Castrol and now to Petronas in 2021, as Brown confirmed.
As for 2020, McLaren will honour its Renault partnership by relying on BP Castrol fuel, whereas 2021 will see a Petronas-fuelled McLaren as a result of its returning commitment with Mercedes engines.