McLaren see a chance to beat Red Bull with Mercedes engines in 2021

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McLaren believes they may have a chance of challenging Red Bull for second in the Constructors' standings in 2021.

The Woking-based team has maintained their solid gains from last year though face stiff competition in a midfield battle that has expanded to include Ferrari and Racing Point this year.

Next year though sees two key changes as they switch from Renault to Mercedes power, while Daniel Ricciardo replaces the Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz.

“I think there’s a chance,” technical director James Key said of finishing ahead of Red Bull next year to the Dutch version of

“This creates new roads that may not have been there before. Behind Mercedes, the midfield is taking new steps year after year and continuing to do a great job, it is now very exciting.

“That gives opportunities to maybe take a step forward. Of course, it’s also a chance to take a step back but the pecking order behind Mercedes is a bit open for next year. There is enough room in the regulations to take a step forward.”

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Of course to do that, McLaren will have to not only keep fighting Alex Albon but also end Max Verstappen's stranglehold as the closest challenger to Mercedes

And while the German manufacturer does clearly have the best engine right now, Key acknowledges the potential gains from switching may not be that much.

“They [Mercedes] have done a great job, so it’s exciting to go there,” he explained.

“But Renault has also done a great job for us in recent years and the performance level of the engines is pretty close together.

“I think we’ll see what the load looks like and whether there’s some sort of extra performance potential compared to what we’re used to.

“We don’t know yet. It’s going to be nice to see that data as soon as it’s available. I think we are currently working on the engine for 2021, so we’re not going to see that for the time being.”

As for this season, initially McLaren didn't expect to have a chance to improve on their fourth place finish from 2019, but Ferrari's struggles have created quite the duel for third place.

Despite their 15-point deduction for using Mercedes-designed rear brake ducts, Racing Point has rebounded to that position, one point ahead of McLaren, with Ferrari another point behind in fifth.

And thought he admits the so-called 'Pink Mercedes' is faster, team boss Andreas Seidl does believe they can stay in that battle.

“I think the fight we are in, in terms of pure car performance, is with Ferrari and Renault,” he continued.

“We have to stay realistic there. If Racing Point actually can use the potential of this car they have, it’s difficult to fight them.

“But with the drivers and the level of execution we have there’s always the chance to still battle them and battle one Red Bull, and that’s what we are aiming for.

“This fight for P3 we will not give up as long as there is a chance.”