McLaren principal Andreas Seidl has confirmed that the team will continue to run its new Mercedes-influenced nose concept on the MCL35 in this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix.
Both drivers used the upgrade last time out at the Nurburgring, but it wasn’t the best of outings for the team despite Carlos Sainz picking up fifth place at the chequered flag.
“Our focus since Germany has been on analysing and understanding the data we gathered at the Nürburgring so that we come to the right conclusions and find the best way to progress,” said Seidl.
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“Based on that analysis we will continue to use our new nose box aero concept combined with a known competitive car configuration,” he said.
“We will continue to bring more new upgrades to the car to test on Friday and also further explore and quantify our new aero concept.”
He added that the team was looking forward to this weekend’s race, the first time that F1 will stage a Grand Prix at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimao.
The most recent race in Portugal was in 1996 at Estoril, when Jacques Villeneuve emerged as the winner for Williams.
“It’s great to be heading to Portugal and to a new track this season especially with the circumstances that this year has brought,” said Seidl.
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“This will be the first time that Formula 1 has raced at the Portimão circuit with it only being used for winter testing during the 2008–2009 season.
“Similar to Mugello, the Portimão circuit is an unknown with limited historic data on the track, so we’re trying to understand how current F1 cars will perform through simulation.
“I’m sure it will be a good test for all teams and drivers to fully understand the track and best prepare for qualifying and the race.”
Lando Norris was also excited to be heading to Portimao and to wash away the bitter taste of a disappointing Eifel GP in which he was forced to retire with power unit problems after 42 laps.
“The Nürburgring was the first time this season that we couldn’t get the car over the finish line, which I’m a bit gutted about,” said the 20-year-old Briton.
“I gave it my all, but it just wasn’t meant to be and we missed out on a good chunk of points. We’re still in the fight and we’ve got something to chase, we just need to focus on ourselves and take each race as it comes.
“It’s really cool that we’re able to race at tracks like Portimão that are completely new to F1 during this unusual season,” he continued. “The circuit is probably new to a lot of the guys with a few of them having experience there in junior levels.
“I actually got to do a two-day test there in a 2011 MP4-26 back in 2017, which was a bit different to the usual few laps testing at Silverstone.
“Not sure if it will give me a little bit of an edge on the drivers who are new to the track, but we’ll have to wait and see.”
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