McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl says his side’s performance throughout 2019 exceeded the initial expectations he had upon his arrival to the Woking squad. 

The former Porsche LMP1 boss began work with McLaren in his new role in May and helped guide the team to fourth place in the constructors’ championship, marking its strongest season of the V6 hybrid era.

But Seidl admits he did not think McLaren would be in a position to challenge for the top midfield honours given how the team had finished the previous campaign.

“When I signed for McLaren in November last year, I honestly didn’t expect us to fight for P4 in 2019,” Seidl said. 

“Where we were competing this season in the field is very tight which means each race we had to fight incredibly hard for points to climb up in the championship and nothing was secured until the end of the season. 

“Given the difficult times the team went through, this season has been an incredible step forward. It gives us a lot of motivation and energy. 

“Looking ahead, we have to keep this momentum up and simply have to keep on pushing in order to achieve our ambitious targets. 

“At the same time, we should never underestimate what our competitors can do. They all have the same high targets and will work very hard towards them as well.”

Seidl revealed McLaren’s strong performance at the French Grand Prix in June was the moment the team realised it could genuinely challenge for fourth spot in the constructors’. 

“There were several highlights,” Seidl explained. "First, the French Grand Prix. 

“We were clearly the fourth strongest team in qualifying and in the race, and it was at that moment that we thought we could genuinely fight for P4 in the constructors’ standings. 

“The developments that we were bringing to the car were working well, and there were plenty more still to come. It was fantastic to see how the team back home in Woking were working hard to develop, produce and deliver the updates during the season. 

“Another on-track highlight was the moment we secured P4 in the constructors’ table in Brazil,” he added. "We weren’t always the fourth-fastest team this year, but ending up in P4 meant we were the fourth strongest team overall. 

“How we improved the car during the season, how we understood our weaknesses and how we pulled off the race weekends - the strategy calls we made, the qualifying performances, the driver performances - were all fantastic and P4 was the well-deserved reward.” 

 

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