Not an easy afternoon for McLaren: they got both cars into Q3 but they were down towards the bottom of the pile with Lando Norris starting eight on the grid and Daniel Ricciardo a tenth further back in P10.
“With a few challenges along the way,” commented Seidl, specifically referring to Norris suffering some issues during Q2, when his car couldn’t get enough fuel. Thus, “it was good that we progressed into Q3 with both cars on Medium tyres, and in the final analysis, we have to acknowledge that qualifying in P8 and P10 is pretty much where the car has been so far this weekend, in terms of pace,” conceded McLaren’s team boss.
“We struggled to keep up with Ferrari in qualifying and with Pierre too – both are putting in very fast laps on Saturdays compared to us,
“This already happened in the previous races, so what we saw today is not a huge surprise”, continued Seidl
“We have to acknowledge that other cars are quicker at the moment, especially in qualifying. But our car is very good in terms of race pace and tyre management so we’re in a position to score some goods points tomorrow”.
Previously, Lando Norris commented that a lot of people have underestimated Ferrari, expecting them to be very much struggling, especially after the 2020 poor season – the worst for the Scuderia in the last 40 years.
When questioned, McLaren’s team principal said that “obviously it is not easy to separate where their strength is coming from, the engine or the overall package improvement”.
“It is always a combination of factors and we don’t have access to their data so we cannot tell,” continued the German
“However, it is clear that from a team like Ferrari we had to expect a strong comeback after last year’s struggles. And this is something we have never underestimated.
“On our side, however, we have to keep working hard to improve and get back to the top in the future, to beat not only Ferrari but every one that is currently ahead of us”, concluded Seidl.
Going back to the tyres issues, Andreas Seidl stated that it is “disappointing” the way Pirelli expressed itself over the incidents that occurred in Azerbaijan two weeks ago.
“At the moment, there are a lot of question marks up in the air, so we will for sure request more transparency in the future".
“We have had discussions with the FIA and Pirelli but we don’t know exactly what happened, it is all speculation.
“This is also why it is so difficult to give explanations. If we don’t have a clear understanding of what happened, we must base everything on assumptions”, he concluded.
Seidl went on claiming that, in all other categories he has worked in, over the last 20 years, they had always been minimum tyre pressures and guidelines given by the manufacturer.
“This type of prescriptions are nothing new”, Seidl continued, “but this is also why I think is so important to thoroughly understand what happened. We cannot put drivers’ lives at risk”.
The main defence that is generally given by Pirelli when tyre-related issues arise, revolves around how they must deal with the “faster and heavier cars that were ever made”. While this might be true, Formula One cars are about to get even heavier with next year’s change of regulations.
“It’s difficult to reverse this process [of making heavier cars], also because much of the added weight of the cars depends on the higher safety components we’re putting on the cars,” explained Seidl.
“But, again, it always comes back to the main issue: we actually don’t know what happened. Even in races like 24Hr of Le Mans, cars are much heavier than Formula One’s. So all our explanations are based on speculations,” the TP continued,
“I can only speak for ourselves; we were running within the prescription given by Pirelli and so far we had no issue with the tyres. So, based on that, we can claim we got a pretty robust product from them”.