McLaren proud of 2021 progress ahead of F1 finale

Daniel Ricciardo wins the Italian Grand Prix

McLaren boss Andreas Seidl is proud of the progress his team has made over the course of the 2021 Formula 1 season.

Daniel Ricciardo recorded the team’s first win since 2012 at the Italian Grand Prix, and though it is set to slip from third to fourth in the constructors’ championship, it will end the year with a greater points tally than 12 months ago (which was held over 17 races).

It has also recorded five podiums over the course of the season, compared with just two in 2020.

The 2021 campaign has been something of a transitional year, switching from Renault to Mercedes power but carrying over a car ostensibly designed for the former.

“We can be proud of the progress we’ve made this year,” Seidl said.

“At the outset of the season, our aim was to continue to further close the gap to the front of the field and we’ve managed to achieve that.

“But the job isn’t done yet and with one grand prix left to race, there’s still the opportunity to maximise our performance and score good points.”

This weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix takes place on a revised Yas Marina circuit.

Changes have been made at both ends of the venue in an effort to increase overtaking opportunities.

It’s seen the hairpin at the start of the lap reworked to afford a cleaner run onto the back straight, while at the other end, the complex of off-camber 90-degree corners has been replaced with a single, positively-cambered left-hand sweeper.

“I’m hopeful the changes to the circuit should improve the racing, which could make it exciting on Sunday,” noted Daniel Ricciardo.

“After a strong result on Sunday last weekend, I’m aiming to score some more decent points and end the season on a high.”

Norris too is looking for a strong result after his race in Saudi Arabia a week ago was compromised by the first red flag interruption.

“I’m looking forward to Abu Dhabi after a disappointing weekend in Saudi Arabia,” said the Brit.

“I think we deserved a lot more and hopefully that luck turns this weekend.

“It’s a new layout at Abu Dhabi, so I’m excited to try it out.

“We had a good one there last year, hopefully we can end the season strongly there again this year.”

Opening practice in Abu Dhabi gets underway at 20:30 AEDT on Friday, ahead of the championship-deciding race from midnight on Sunday/Monday.

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