The principal subject out of the race in Portimao was the confirmation of the Sprint Qualifying Races as a format to test during three weekends during the 2021 season. Andreas Seidl, Team Principal of McLaren was asked his opinion on this, and while he said that it will be interesting to see what they bring, he did not hide his love for the actual race-weekend format.
“We supported the idea. Of course all Formula 1 teams together with the FIA we all want to get involved so we are happy with that.”
“To be honest I think the format that we have in place at the moment in Formula 1 it’s already a big one, with the qualifying session how it is, and the race how it is on Sunday.“
“The thing is not to create too many new ideas now because we have a very good format. But I also think Sprint races are a very good thing to try, to see what they actually give us, in terms of excitement for the race weekend for the fans, or whether it is that we don’t like let’s not try something like the reverse grid, something completely artificial.”
“I still think that qualifying should always be about a flying lap, and the race should be about a standing start and then racing.”
Questions about Daniel Ricciardo’s performances are still rounding the Team Principal, why do experienced drivers now need time to adapt to a new team when Daniel himself went to Red Bull and started performing from the very beginning?
“Different reasons from my point of view. Let’s not forget the evolution of it all. The movie you see, when you seat these drivers on the cars and then go around the tracks, it’s a very fast one. But I mean, the evolution is, for example, since Barcelona from 2014 to now, I think the cars are quicker by 8 seconds. I think the faster these cars are, the more complex it is to operate them at the limit. This is a good thing because you have the greatest cars in F1 and that’s what we all want. But you need time to adapt and I think that’s probably one of the main reasons.”
“The biggest limitations for these drivers that changed teams is that they’re against more experienced teammates with quite some more time in the team already. I think it is a matter of laps.”
“With the experience Daniel is having and the experience we have as a team I think it would not take long, question of another couple of races. He drove the car in a very uncomfortable race and scored a very important P6 for us as a team. It was quite easy in the race to go off and destroy the car or we seeing a lot of drivers going off for pushing.”
Seidl talked about the situation going on about his drivers being involved in the activism to go blackout on social media in a way of “support the message against online abuse” during the whole weekend.
“The most important thing is to make clear that we just fully support what other sports are doing. Regarding the drivers, is a decision they can take for themselves but from McLaren's side, we are not planning to go blackout. It’s very important for us over the course of the race weekend to keep the interaction and engagement with the fans.”
Concluded finally speaking about the state of operations for the F1 team in the MTC now that it is official that the base of the team was sold in a leaseback deal, last week.
“From the Formula 1 team point of view it doesn’t change anything at all in terms of operation.”