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> News > Formula 1
By Mat Coch
Friday 19th August, 2022 – 12:00pm
McLaren sits fifth in the constructors’ championship
Part of McLaren’s struggles during the 2022 Formula 1 season have been the result of a less versatile car, suggests the team’s Executive Director, Technical, James Key.
McLaren last year finished fourth in the constructors’ championship, but currently occupies fifth after slipping behind Alpine following the Hungarian Grand Prix.
That it sat above the Enstone squad was more a commentary on the missed opportunities for the former-Renault operation than an endorsement of McLaren’s performances.
Indeed, the year started disastrously with neither Lando Norris nor Daniel Ricciardo finishing in the points in Bahrain.
That followed a final pre-season test that was severely hampered by braking issues, limiting it to only short runs, while Ricciardo was absent courtesy of a positive COVID result.
Things bounced back somewhat in Saudi Arabia and there were positive signs following the Australian and Emilia Romagna Grands Prix, but the team’s pace since then has been inconsistent and track-dependent.
“It’s been a rollercoaster ride we didn’t expect and obviously we’re not enjoying when we hit the more difficult circuits,” Key admitted.
“I think to be honest, there’s actually been a range of things there, so certainly the car has been stronger at some events than others; stronger Monaco, Australia, Imola.
“Weak at others. We had a very difficult Canada; I’m dismissing the first race because there are other problems associated with that.
“Some of it’s a learning process, but I suppose the versatility in terms of consistency really isn’t quite there.”
Key’s comments largely mirror those of Ricciardo, who suggested to Speedcafe.com that 2022 hasn’t been as bad as it’s sometimes appeared on the results sheet.
“[We’re] fairly honest about where we are with the car, having said that, there’s been a few other setbacks as well,” Key added.
“We had, for example in Austria, extremely difficult, expectedly difficult first session, which was really the only session we had before we had to go into qualifying.
“I think, without that, we could have gone a little bit better.
“We had an issue in qualifying as well unfortunately.
“Same in Canada, we had an issue in qualifying which stopped Lando from progressing.
“So although the car definitely needs to improve and become more consistent, there’s been other things as well which has affected our season.
“We’ve definitely left points on the table this year, there’s been more potential than some of the recent events have shown, I think.”
Norris leads the team’s efforts with 76 points from the opening 13 races of the year, while Ricciardo has 19 to his name.
McLaren meanwhile trails Alpine by four points in their battle for fourth in the constructors’ championship, Alfa Romeo Sauber and Haas having slipped back from that position in recent races.
Formula 1 returns from its summer break at the Belgian Grand Prix on August 26-28.
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