Vasseur is not impressed by McLaren’s big F1 gains: “Even in Barcelona they were on the second row”

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Photo credits: McLaren Racing

Recent remarks from Ferrari Team Principal, Fred Vasseur, post-race in Suzuka showed that not all feel that the shift in McLaren’s performance has been so drastic as the speed has been there through much of the season.

McLaren secured a double podium in Japan and the previous weekend had seen Lando Norris on the podium in Singapore. This past Sunday, the papaya faithful delighted in seeing Oscar Piastri on a podium for the first time in the pinnacle of motorsport and many critics continued to comment on the incredible midseason turnaround in form from McLaren. However, speaking post-race in Suzuka, Vasseur shared his thoughts on the pace of the MCL60.

“I’m not sure if we have exactly the same reading of the season. I think that they had a big issue at the beginning, and then they recovered pretty quickly because, even in Barcelona, they were on the second row.

“I think it was Max [Verstappen], Carlos [Sainz] and then Lando and Lewis [Hamilton] on the second row, they were already competitive,” explained Vasseur.

Such comments are a timely reminder that the Woking-based manufacturer may in fact have been underperforming with the package they had earlier in the season – as opposed to having made drastic upgrades. Vasseur went on to explain how the layout of Suzuka also suited the MCL6O.

“And this kind of track is probably suited more with their car than us. But for sure it’s not just a matter of pure potential, it’s a matter of driveability also,”

Vasseur then went on to state that even if teams are making steps forward (on a weekend which saw Red Bull Racing claim a 6th F1 Constructors’ Championship) there is still a long way to go to reach the top.

“Each time you will do a step forward you will also help the driver to do a step forward, and this can be a kind of snowball effect. Still, a small step compared to Red Bull!” reminded Vasseur.

With such an impressive haul of points this past fortnight and 6 race weekends still to come on the calendar, there are those who feel that McLaren is well placed for a charge on P4 of the Constructors’ Championship. This position is currently occupied by Aston Martin – the team 49 points in front of them.

There is no doubting that McLaren have made impressive upgrades but at a time when the team is chasing down 4th, there is a strong suspicion that the season could – and maybe should – have been a far more promising one.