McLaren can close the gap to top teams in 2020 - de la Rosa

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<i>Image: ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP</i>
<i>Image: ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP</i>
ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP

McLaren can close the gap to the top three teams in 2020, according to former driver Pedro de la Rosa.

De la Rosa, now 48, was a long-time McLaren test driver during the team's successful works Mercedes days.

Closing the gap

Since then, McLaren slipped behind with the Honda debacle and the end of the Ron Dennis era. But new boss Andreas Seidl says the team wants to make a clear step forward having established itself as 'best of the rest' in 2019.

READ | McLaren car 'concepts' to change for 2020 - Seidl

"Well, it's been a very good season for them," Spaniard de la Rosa told AS newspaper at a kart endurance race with Fernando Alonso.

"What I liked the most is how they have managed to develop the car, which I think is the most important thing. It is now starting to be a car that works on every type of circuit."

And so he thinks Seidl could be right that McLaren can close the gap to Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull next year.

"If they are able to repeat the jump they took from 2018 to 2019, they can be close to fighting the big three in 2020," de la Rosa said.

"I think that is the goal. In Formula 1, you do not suddenly go from the back to winning races, so I think it is very important that next year they are close to the three teams that are ahead of them."

Meanwhile, Russia's Championat reports that Moscow-based Lukoil may replace Petrobras as McLaren's next oil sponsor. Reportedly, Zak Brown has already held talks with Lukoil motorsport chief Evgeniy Malinovsky.

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