McLaren watching on as F1 war develops

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen battle on-track

McLaren’s top brass is watching the Formula 1 war develop between Red Bull and Mercedes with interest.

Currently fourth in the constructors’ championship, McLaren has found itself racing with the two top teams at points during the opening half of the 2021 season.

Locked in a tight battle with Ferrari for best of the rest honours, the two operations stand to gain the most should either of the top teams implode, or their battle boil over.

That was evidenced at the British Grand Prix, when Charles Leclerc came within touching distance of victory over Lewis Hamilton.

“I follow that closely,” McLaren’s Andreas Seidl admitted when asked how he views the rivalry between the two title contending teams.

“I follow what’s going on in other teams, not just on the track, but also off-track because there’s only something you can learn also.

“You could be in such a position yourself at some point, and that’s why I follow it with great interest.

“There’s also no point to spend too much time on this but, [I do follow it] with interest and always with the aim to learn from it.”

McLaren finished third in last year’s championship, capping off an impressive comeback after a number of seasons in the doldrums battling with management shakeups and power unit changes.

Aside from the switch to Mercedes power this year, and the arrival of Daniel Ricciardo alongside Lando Norris, the squad has been comparatively settled.

There has been significant investment off-track too, which will take time to net benefits on-track but leaves the operation in a good position for the coming seasons.

It’s therefore not unrealistic to suggest Seidl could soon find himself in a similar tussle with the likes of Christian Horner (Red Bull) and Toto Wolff (Mercedes).

McLaren has a number of updates still to feed into this year’s car, suggesting it will inch closer to those at the front in the back half of the year, though focus has already largely switched to 2022.

The 2021 season continues with the Belgian Grand Prix on August 27-29.

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