McLaren team leader Andreas Seidl commented on the results of qualifying in Portimao, but noted that Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris are faced with the task of finishing in higher positions than those from which they start.
Q: It looks like Ferrari is in good shape today, at least Charles Leclair. Do you think the McLaren drivers will be able to compete with him in tomorrow’s race?
Andreas Seidl: Of course, it is very interesting to see what Scuderia can achieve in the race, because for several stages in a row we see that Charles manages to show excellent results in qualifications, but at the Grand Prix distance, Ferrari starts having problems. We do not yet know how it will be tomorrow
If we talk about our situation, then we again made sure that our car is working quite stably, and both riders have passed to the final of qualification. The 7th and 8th positions they start from will allow them to compete for points, so I’m happy.
I am also pleased that we have taken the next step in understanding how the new nose cone works. In several previous races, we lost a lot of points, but it is important that we were in good positions even then and could count on good results, but this was hampered either by incidents on the first lap, or by problems with reliability.
Of course we are aiming for higher places than 7th and 8th. I think our car is competitive from the very beginning of the weekend, so the task for tomorrow is clear: both drivers must reach the finish line in the top ten and earn as many points as possible.
Q: Can you say something about how Pirelli’s prototype tires for next season were tested yesterday?
Andreas Seidl: First of all, of course, our team supports such tests. Like Pirelli, we are interested in making the tires better. If we talk about the results, then it is difficult to comment on something, because these were a kind of blind tests, and now the Pirelli specialists have to conduct a detailed analysis of the information received from different teams.
I think after that they will acquaint us with the results of the tests. In addition, this kind of tests, when all 10 teams devote half an hour to them as part of Friday’s training, can reduce costs.
Question Given the state of the asphalt pavement and the fact that you have a minimum of information about this track, how do you intend to build the tactics of tomorrow’s race?
Andreas Seidl: It is clear that the team is now busy analyzing the data, including those collected today, and plans will be drawn up by tomorrow, but it’s too early to talk about it. It is interesting to see how the tires of different compositions will behave tomorrow. For example, it’s curious what Charles Leclair, starting with the Medium kit, can achieve compared to the top ten riders with Soft tires.
We believe that soft tires are quite suitable for the start and the first leg of the race, although we have little experience with such rubber on this track with its specific asphalt surface and in these weather conditions, so a lot is still unclear. In addition, the forecast for tomorrow does not exclude rains in the afternoon, and this can also make its own adjustments. In general, it will be a difficult task to solve, but there is a high probability that the fans will again see an interesting race with a variety of tactical schemes.
Question: Can you confirm that the whole range of technical innovations is installed on both machines, and they are in the same configuration?
Andreas Seidl: Yes. From the very start of the weekend, both machines were fitted with new nose cones – something Lando Norris tested at the Nurburgring. Yesterday we tested some of the additional components associated with this to see how they interact with the new nose piece, and we got positive results.
We plan to use these components in future races, but today the cars of both drivers were in the same configuration. It practically repeats the version that Lando used at the Nurburgring.