Having finished tenth (of ten) in 2015, seventh in 2016 and tenth again in 2017, it’s hard to believe that this is the same team currently looking set to take best of the rest behind the big three this season.
And as Mercedes fails to equal the Woking outfit’s 31-year-old record for the most consecutive wins (11), it’s worth noting that this year’s results are not down to luck or the misfortune of others, but genuine progress from a Woking team that a couple of years ago was close to being written off.
Whatever the rights and wrongs of the decision to end the Honda marriage, a marriage that many feel was doomed to failure because of the attitude and demands of the Woking team, despite a somewhat shaky start to its 2019 campaign, McLaren is now regularly getting both cars into Q3 and the points.
Twenty points clear of Renault, as he looks to consolidate his team’s position over the coming months, team boss Andreas Seidl believes the Woking outfit owes a debt of gratitude to former drivers Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne.
“No one inside the team expected last year that we could, after finishing the season as the ninth fastest car, make such a step,” said the German. “Which shows that a lot of the changes that have been triggered already last year are paying off.
“The team did a good job in bringing this year’s car on track,” he continued. “They understood a lot. Also with the input from the drivers from last year.
“We should also pay a lot of credit to Fernando and Stoffel, for pointing out what the weaknesses were and which direction they had to develop the car, which pays off now.
“Now, obviously the target is for us this year to still keep going with the development of the car. We want to make sure we can keep this position for a while. But still we have seen it can change quickly again.
“It’s still a tight battle,” he concluded. “So it’s important to not to get too excited about it and to keep our head down and keep focusing on the weaknesses we still have on the car.”