Isn't there a crisis at McLaren? Imola has shown that the car is not as bad as the team management and driver initially thought. Again, Lando Norris Daniel Ricciardo easily qualified for the top ten.
Were we all wrong about McLaren? After the test drives in Barcelona, the MCL36 was traded as a secret favourite. After the season opener in Bahrain as a flop. Even the team management and the drivers were of the opinion: This McLaren has a problem. Technology chief James Key was sent into isolation to get the supposed problem child on his feet.
Lando Norris' first World Championship points in Jeddah were attributed to the track characteristics. The McLaren can take fast corners. When both drivers easily qualified for Q3 in Melbourne and scored 18 points in fifth and sixth place in the race, the first hopes arose.
The McLaren also likes Imola
Maybe the car isn't that bad after all? Norris still doubted: "The good form has to do 80 percent with the track and only 20 percent with a better understanding of the car and the new parts on the car."
The positive trend continued in Imola. Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo lined up their cars on positions three and six for the sprint. "It could have been a lot better if we had managed a second flying lap like the others," Ricciardo is convinced. Important for the engineers: The McLaren were fast in all conditions, on rain tyres, intermediates and slicks.
This time McLaren couldn't find an excuse to use a track layout that suits the car. Imola also has slow corners that caused so many problems for the MCL36 in Bahrain.
McLaren is sticking to the development program
Team boss Andreas Seidl has to slowly correct his judgment about the car. "We looked disproportionately bad in Bahrain. Because of our braking problems during testing, we started the weekend with a deficit and never caught up. And then it took us two races to recover from that."
Seidl admits: "The car is not as bad as it first looked. The basis is good. Fourth place in the World Championship is possible with this car. Nevertheless, we are sticking to our development program, which we will follow after the race in Bahrain pushed. We need more downforce. The gap to Ferrari and Red Bull is still too big."