McLaren in the dark over pecking order at Paul Ricard

McLaren are not sure where they sit in the pecking order as Formula 1 heads back to the Paul Ricard circuit for the French Grand Prix.

The Woking-based team once again find themselves in a battle to finish P3 in the Constructors’ Championship but, unlike 2020, they are up against a resurgent Ferrari who are making good strides down the path back towards the sharp end of the Formula 1 grid.

A triple-header on the calendar can quickly change the complexion of the bigger picture for the teams away from the Mercedes-Red Bull title fight and there is a sense at McLaren of heading a little into the unknown at the Paul Ricard track.

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“After taking the time to analyse and understand the data from Baku, it’s clear that we still need to continue to take steps forward as a team and extract the most out of our package as we compete in a very close battle with our competitors,” McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said.

“The Circuit Paul Ricard is a different style of track compared to previous races and therefore it’s difficult to understand the pecking order ahead of the weekend.

“Our priority going forward is to qualify well in order to put ourselves in the best position possible to score the most points on Sundays. We remain focused and determined to once again fight for good points this weekend.”

Meanwhile, Lando Norris is looking forward to racing at the Paul Ricard circuit following a tough challenge in Baku.

“Looking back on Baku, we made a good recovery to score some important points for the Constructors’ Championship,” Norris said.

“At the same time there’s a lot we can learn from the weekend that we can take into the triple-header.

“Three races back-to-back can be intense, but everyone at the track and the factory is prepared and is continuing to give everything to give us the best chance to compete for points.

“We need to keep pushing as a team to extract the most out of the car to stay in this tight battle with our competitors.

“Switching from a run of street circuits to more traditional tracks with France and Austria will be an exciting challenge.

“It’s great to be returning to Paul Ricard for the French Grand Prix after everything that’s happened in the last year. It’s a fun, fast track with a mix of corners and opportunities for good racing.”

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