McLaren focused on weaknesses vs. top three teams with new MCL35

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McLaren says improving their weaknesses versus the top three teams has been the main focus in developing the MCL35.

On Thursday, the British team revealed their latest creation in Woking, a car they hope will continue the upward trend after finishing 'best of the rest' in fourth in last year's Constructors' Championship.

But while McLaren concedes improving on that fourth is unlikely in 2020, given the performance advantage of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, it isn't stopping them from trying to get as close as possible.

“You have to have a target to work to because you kind of need to figure out where you need to be,” technical director James Key told Motorsport.

“One of those is to get to the front, but that’s a huge step compared to where we are now and to do that in a year would be very welcome but a massive step.

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“There were certain targets based on what we learned last year, where we found our weaknesses were that we really wanted to address," he noted.

“And we could see some of those weaknesses were quite similar across the teams we were competing with when you look at the bigger three teams.

“So we’ve been looking closely at those kinds of areas, and we have made some progress there.

“I think the medium-term target is to maintain our position and hopefully close the gap a bit and build on that.

“So if we can be in that place I think we’ll achieve the realistic target that we have.”

At the same time, McLaren, like all teams, is having to balance optimising their 2020 program with trying to capitalise on the all-new cars coming for 2021.

And the former Toro Rosso chief revealed the challenge that brings.

“We have a plan A, but you need a B and a C as well, it is a tough balance, I think every team faces this to a certain extent,” Key said.

“But where we are you have this funny mix of wanting to continue the positive momentum while keeping a very close eye on 2021.

“We’ve planned around that, we’ve planned what we’d like to do and hope to do, we’ll adjust that a little bit depending on where we are, there’s nothing carried over from this year to next year, it really is a blank sheet of paper, so we have to very finely balance that."