F1 wind tunnel handicap is no excuse not to do better

The Woking-based team fully acknowledges that its current infrastructure has pushed it back against bigger teams like Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

However, there are hopes that the addition of a wind tunnel and major new investments in the simulator, which is expected to be ready next year, will have a major impact in pushing it forward.

But until that happens, McLaren realizes it will be difficult to outperform its fifth place in this year’s constructors’ championship.

But team principal Andreas Seidl says that doesn’t mean the team is ready to just sit back and wait until they take a bigger step forward.

Instead, he believes McLaren has scope to step up its game and put itself in the best possible place to take advantage of the opportunities that come its way.

Next year, the target is clear, we want to take another step in every aspect of the team,” he said.

“It’s about taking another step as a team, not just in the car itself, but also in every way, including some of the weaknesses we’ve seen this year.”

“At the same time, I have a realistic view of where we are as a team right now. I’m also aware of the limitations we still have, especially on the infrastructure side, compared to the teams running ahead of us. There are even teams and teams like Alpine running behind us right now.

“So that means it’s not possible to take a step forward in the constructors’ championship. But we’re also racers and we wake up in the morning because we want to shorten the journey we’re on and we’re trying to do a better job. That’s the ambition you have.”

wind tunnel

Photo: McLaren

McLaren finished third in the constructors’ championship in 2020, finishing fourth in 2021 and fifth this year.

While Seidl says the qualifying isn’t ideal, he thinks McLaren is making progress in putting together what it takes to get back to the front of the grid.

“After all, for me, when I look at this season, it feels like a step backwards compared to previous seasons,” he said.

“But I think there are still a lot of positive points this year as we took steps forward as a team. So ultimately it’s still a positive season for us.

“We are on a journey. As a team, we know exactly what we need to do to take these next steps. We also know that this takes time.

“But the positive thing is that we know that what we need to take that final step over the next few years comes and goes. And in terms of staff organization we need to make sure we have continuity in the team as well, because I believe we have all the skills we need.

“Now it’s up to us to get everything in place and then make it work and also show that we can do it.”

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McLaren CEO Zak Brown said the team fully acknowledges that the limitations in the Toyota wind tunnel technology currently used will hinder the vehicle’s potential until its own plant is ready.

“There are things we can detect in the wind tunnel we’re in, and there’s a lack of certain technologies that the wind tunnel has,” he said. “This is a game of air; this is a drag game.

“In terms of grip, heat is not our friend. And looking at what the wind tunnel we’re in right now isn’t doing compared to what our new wind tunnel will do, we know what the problem is. We can’t get over it until we have better technology.”

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