Brown: No excuses for McLaren F1 after infrastructure updates

McLaren Formula 1 CEO Zak Brown says his team will have no excuses not to contend for the world championship by 2024, when it will have caught up to F1's frontrunners with its infrastructure.

Brown: No excuses for McLaren F1 after infrastructure updates

McLaren is currently working on a new wind tunnel in its Woking headquarters after years of using Toyota's facility in Cologne, amid other upgrades to its McLaren Technology Centre.

The need for a new state-of-the-art tunnel was one of the first issues team boss Andreas Seidl raised on his arrival in May 2019 as he identified the next steps for McLaren to return to the front of the field.

While the coronavirus pandemic has delayed McLaren's plans to bring its facilities up to the standard of Mercedes and Red Bull, CEO Brown believes the team will have caught up by the 2024 season, which means it will have "no excuses" in the fight for world championship success.

"I think it’s always dangerous to pick a point in time in which you should be going for it. What I will say is we will have caught up by 2024 with all of our infrastructure, most specifically the wind tunnel," Brown said.

"I think we’ll have no excuses come the 2024 season, and would like to think that by that point, the sport is going to be so competitive that there’ll be a variety of teams fighting for the championship, and I like to think we’d be one of them."

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal, McLaren, and Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing, on the grid

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal, McLaren, and Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing, on the grid

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

McLaren has been on a steady upward trajectory since 2018, climbing up the constructors' table every season until last year's third place finish, which it is aiming to repeat in 2021.

Asked whether McLaren's continued progress could give the team a chance to fight for wins and championships even before its 2024 target, aided by 2022's all-new regulations and F1's cost cap, Brown has preached patience and said the final step to the level of Mercedes and Red Bull will be the hardest one to make.

"We’ve gone ninth, sixth, fourth, third. And here we are in third. I think it gets tougher as you get closer to the front, so I don’t think it’s going to be two, one," he explained.

"That would be nice, but I don’t think that’ll happen.

"While we now have the annual resources to compete at the same level as everyone else, we are behind on our infrastructure, and while we’ve let loose the investment, it’s simply going to take time, most notably the wind tunnel.

"Given how important that is, we can’t make up that lost time, we’re writing the cheques for it, but it’s going to take a couple of years to finish the wind tunnel.

"We have other CapEx [capital expenses] that you’ll start to see, everything from our brand centre, you saw we were redoing that to be more sustainable and aligned with the future and more efficient ... and we have other stuff that you’ll see later this year.

"But we really won’t be caught up on our infrastructure until the 2024 car comes out. Until then we will be doing the best we can with the equipment that we have, but I think until we get caught up, it will be difficult to think that we could beat those guys in a straight fight."

Read Also:

Brawn GP scenario hard to repeat

The new rules for 2022 could allow a team like McLaren to pull off an upset by getting its initial car design right, much like Brawn GP when it stunned the F1 paddock in 2009 with its clever double diffuser. But Brown thinks such a scenario, where one outfit has a massive trick up its sleeve, is less likely with the more restrictive technical regulations that will come into play.

"We’re going to give it our best shot, and you never know with the new formula who is going to get it right and who is going to get it wrong," he added.

"Brawn obviously punched above their weight when they won the championship, and they weren’t the biggest resourced team.

"But also, I think the rules are so much tighter now, to come up with a big, clear advantage like that in today’s world is going to be more difficult.

"We’re going to give it our best shot, but I think we should manage expectations that it's going to get tougher from here on out."

shares
comments

Related video

Autosport Podcast: Magazine feature special
Previous article

Autosport Podcast: Magazine feature special

Next article

Aston Martin modified all visible car parts to recover 2021 F1 form

Aston Martin modified all visible car parts to recover 2021 F1 form
Load comments
The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Plus

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes Plus

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Dec 3, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Plus

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Plus

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2021
The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021