Consistency key for McLaren to beat Ferrari in constructors’ title
By Mat Coch
Tuesday 15th June, 2021 - 3:00pm
McLaren must continue to improve its car and execute flawless race weekends in its battle with Ferrari for third place in the Formula 1 constructors’ championship.
Just two points split the teams after six rounds, Ferrari nabbing third following the Azerbaijan Grand Prix last time out.
It’s a stark turnaround for the Scuderia which slumped to its worst performance in 40 years last season.
That came in the wake of a secret deal with the FIA regarding the powerunit it used in 2019, with last year’s engine regarded as the worst on the F1 grid as a result.
Changes for 2021, combined with aerodynamic tweaks afforded by the new design, have seen the squad take a significant step forward.
In Monaco, Charles Leclerc scored pole position, and while he ultimately failed to start the race, Carlos Sainz recorded second behind Max Verstappen.
Leclerc nabbed pole position in Azerbaijan too, though neither he nor Sainz had the race pace to remain at the front.
Even still, they combined to score 16 points on a weekend McLaren could only manage 12, turning a two-point constructor’s championship deficit into an advantage.
“Obviously, you have to acknowledge that Ferrari made a big step forward for this year, and also seem to have improved their car quite a bit in the last couple of races,” McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said.
“That’s the challenge we are in.
“[It’s] Simply important to focus on ourselves to make sure that we keep improving the car on our side.
“It’s important not just to improve the performance side but also make sure we keep the consistency up in terms of scoring points with both cars, and very strong operational weekends and then we hopefully sit in a position to fight with them for this P3 in the constructor championship.”
McLaren finished third in last year’s championship, a valuable result as F1 pays out prize money based on the constructors’ standings.
It saw off challenges from both Renault (now Alpine) and Racing Point (now Aston Martin) in the process.
Alpine continues to play catch up after issues pre-season hindered its development for the current season, while Aston Martin netted second place in Azerbaijan with Sebastian Vettel.
For now, Ferrari and McLaren remain in their own private battle, the former 54 points behind Mercedes in second, and the latter 53 points ahead of Alpha Tauri in fifth.
The F1 circus is back in action this weekend at the French Grand Prix, opening practice for which begins at 19:30 AEST on Friday.