McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl does not see any way for his team to catch Mercedes at the top of Formula 1 in 2021.

The Woking outfit snatched P3 in the Constructors’ Championship from Racing Point at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, marking another solid step forward for the team both statistically and in terms of their performance level throughout the season.

And for 2021 they will again have Mercedes power in the back of their cars.

Lewis Hamilton, who won his first World Championship in 2008 with McLaren, said he hopes his former employer will make it a three-way fight for the title in 2021 alongside Mercedes and Red Bull.

But Seidl said the gap to Mercedes is too much to eliminate in one year, while his team’s “infrastructure” also needs work. McLaren’s planned new wind-tunnel was delayed for around a year.

Carlos Sainz McLaren

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“I think we need to stay realistic. Despite the good result we had this weekend and despite the great outcome for us in the Championship, with P3, I think we know exactly where we are,” said Seidl after the Abu Dhabi GP, as quoted by Motorsport.com.

“There’s still a huge gap to the cars in front, especially the Mercedes car.

“I think the most important thing is to first of all see that the team this year, under the leadership of James Key, has produced a very competitive car. It is a step forward compared to last year.

“It was great to see also that despite all these challenges in the pandemic, that the team kept pushing flat out back home in engineering and in production to continuously bring updates to the track which, in the end, kept improving the performance of the car.

“And of course it’s a great finish to the season knowing that at this track, at this specific event, we had the third fastest car.

“But still, we know what the gap to Mercedes is. It is not something we will close from one year to the next year.

“We still know that we have a lot of deficits within the team in terms of organisation, in terms of infrastructure, which we need to close first.

“But again, we have a clear plan of how we want to reduce these deficits. It will take time. But I’m confident that if we do the right things on the team side, we can close these gaps in some years.”

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