McLaren won't sacrifice 2020 hopes for P4 Renault battle

McLaren in action at the Italian Grand Prix

McLaren has stressed that 2020 improvements, rather than fourth place, remains its goal, amid Renault’s resurgent Formula 1 results.

McLaren entered the summer break with a substantial advantage over its midfield opponents, but a sequence of mistakes and setbacks left it taking only one point from events in Belgium and Italy.

Renault, meanwhile, enjoyed its first double top five result in a decade to move into fifth in the standings, reducing its deficit to customer team McLaren to only 18 points.

“Of course we want to fight for this P4 as long as possible but at the same time for me it’s a lot more important to make the next step with next year’s car,” said team boss Andreas Seidl.

“So I don’t want to compromise next year by suddenly switching the focus on this year again.

“We have a plan in place for what we want to do this year, we have a plan in place for how we approach next year, and this is how we approach it.

“We plan to bring parts – not huge updates but just continuously bringing small things – for the next two or three races at least.

“We just have to see when we fully switch then to next year’s car and the development side. It’s still something which is open.”

McLaren was on course for fifth in Belgium, until Lando Norris’ late retirement, while a loose wheel during Carlos Sainz Jr.’s stop in Italy meant a strong result slipped through its grasp.

“I think with Carlos’ race it went as expected so we were set for a P6 which would have been damage limitation, because we have seen in Spa and Monza we were struggling with the low downforce package in terms of keeping up with Renault," said Seidl.

“So it’s obviously disappointing that we go away with only one point and with Renault scoring so many points.

“It’s important now as a team to regroup, reset, analyse what happened in detail on the pit stop side and then hopefully with putting more downforce on we are back to where we were before the shutdown in terms of being competitive.”