The McLaren Formula 1 team has set itself the goal of further closing the gap to Mercedes in 2021.

McLaren broke into F1’s top three last season as it clinched third place in the constructors’ championship behind only Mercedes and Red Bull, scoring two podium finishes across the 17-round season.

Boosted by a switch to Mercedes power and with Daniel Ricciardo joining from Renault for the upcoming 2021 campaign, McLaren is determined to continue its upward trajectory by reducing the gap to F1’s current benchmark even more.

Speaking at the launch of the team’s MCL35M 2021 car on Monday, McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said: “The field is unbelievably close, but challenging for the championship would be unrealistic given the journey that we are on.

“I think all we can hope for, and are striving for, is to close the gap to Mercedes, who we anticipate to be the fastest team again in 2021.

“The rules haven’t changed significantly, so I don’t think that 2021 will look much different from 2020 for the entire grid, other than expecting it to get yet even closer.

“We went into Abu Dhabi [in 2020] with the ability to finish third, fourth or fifth, and I think it’s that close and anticipate it being even closer this year.

“So, all we can really do is key off who is the fastest team and hope that we close the gap, but short of that it’s too competitive to give any sort of prediction.”

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl believes his side has “everything we need to make a step forward” this season.

“Going into this year, we expect again another tough battle with all the competitors we were fighting with last year,” Seidl added.

“We have Lando now going into his third year in F1, we have Daniel on board with us, who is a clear reference in this sport.

“We have the championship-winning power unit in the back of our car, and I think we have everything we need to make a step forward. As a team also, with how we work together.

“It is clear we want to get closer to the cars in front of us, to the Mercedes and the Red Bull cars, which we managed last year. At the same, we want to make sure we gain to all the competitors around us.

“I think there’s a lot of reason to be optimistic and again, we need to be realistic and that’s how we see it.”



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