McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl admits the coronavirus-forced shutdown to the 2020 Formula 1 season could delay its resurgence up the grid.

The Woking squad enjoyed its most competitive season in the V6 hybrid era in 2019 by securing fourth place in the constructors’ championship as it built on the steady progress it had made from the year before.

McLaren hoped to further close the gap to the leading three teams in 2020 but the global COVID-19 crisis has caused the season to be put on hold for the foreseeable future, with the opening nine races postponed.

Teams have subsequently agreed to bring forward the mandatory shutdown period to the spring from its traditional summer break in August, and Seidl concedes this enforced hiatus could hamper his side’s recent upward trajectory.

"First of all, the most important thing at the moment is to go through this crisis and survive it as a team and as Formula 1," Seidl said.

"It's a tough situation for everyone, but I'm confident that as soon as we are through this crisis that we simply can continue the positive momentum we had before we all went into the shutdown.

“In terms of the recovery - in terms of timing - it’s clear with the shift of regulations for one year, and this long shutdown now, it will cause some delays in our recovery programme, but again, it’s too early to say what the consequences will be in detail.”

McLaren had targeted further gains in 2020 before aiming to take advantage of a major technical rules revamp in 2021 to make a significant leap forward in competitiveness.

But the planned regulation changes have been postponed by a year until 2022 as a cost-saving measure in a bid to protect teams amid the financial uncertainty caused by the current lack of racing. Teams must now carry over their 2020 chassis into 2021, preventing the scope for making big development gains. 

“It is not a secret that as McLaren we were pushing to get these new regulations in place for 2021,” Seidl explained.

“But at the same time we had to face reality with the crisis we face now and we were also fully supporting a delay by another year for the regulations.

"But at the same time, that's the challenge we're in. We have a clear plan in place of what we have to do in the next months and years in order to move up the grid again."



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