McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl says his staff must not assume that its impressive 2019 Formula 1 campaign guarantees it will do even better next year.
Carlos Sainz’s podium finish in the Brazilian Grand Prix sealed fourth place in the constructors’ championship for McLaren.
Its target for 2020 is therefore to make further progress and close the gap to the top three teams ahead of the major rules shake-up coming for 2021.
But after Renault expressed similar ambitions for this season before falling back in a rollercoaster campaign, Seidl is well aware how much work his team still needs to do if it is going to achieve its aims and avoid complacency.
“We have high targets and definitely medium-term we want to close the gap to the top teams and fight for podiums and race wins again,” he said.
“At the same time, we need to be realistic of what is achievable from one year to the next one.
“We have a lot of respect for the top three teams and what they’re doing.
“But at the same time, I’m also making sure within the team that we keep up this respect for every other team that we are fighting with at the moment, because everybody’s trying hard to improve year by year.
“All of these teams that are in the paddock have great people working for them and great talents. So, it’s a very complex sport. This is why you can never take something for granted.
“It’s important to stay humble, keep our heads down, and not get carried away with the step we could make from year to year.
“We have to simply keep working hard in order to make sure we become better as a team.”
Seidl said that there was no silver bullet that would help McLaren move to the front beyond dedicated focus and improvements.
“We need to develop a quicker race car, develop our processes and our methodologies,” he added.
“We need to get all the pieces in place over the next months and years, which we think are important to get back up again.
“For sure, the 2021 regulations coming into place – especially a budget cap – will help us, but still especially the three teams in front of us – they’re simply there because they do a better job.
“There’s no automatic mechanism that gets us there.”