McLaren admits its 2018 Formula 1 car has less downforce than 2017

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has admitted the team's 2018 Formula 1 car has less downforce than last year's machine

McLaren admits its 2018 Formula 1 car has less downforce than 2017

The team announced a reshuffle of its management on Wednesday, which included the resignation of racing director Eric Boullier - triggered by McLaren's disappointing season.

McLaren dropped to sixth in the constructors' championship after last weekend's Austrian Grand Prix and has fallen short of anticipated performance levels so far thanks to the downforce deficit.

"We don't have the same level of downforce this year that we had last year," said Brown.

"So we have identified an area in which our car this year is weaker than last year's car.

"Did we have the best chassis last year? No, definitely not.

"Did we have probably a better chassis? I think because of all the different variables it would be hard to definitively say yes or no, but we know we have less downforce this year than last year."

Although the changes, which include appointing Gil de Ferran as sporting director, promoting Andrea Stella to performance director and giving chief operating officer Simon Roberts overall responsibility for the car technically, have been made with immediate effect their full impact will be longer term.

Brown would not give a specific timeline for when he hopes McLaren will get back to the front, but said it will take years.

"Realistically, this is going to take some time to fix, so I think we are years away," said Brown.

"I don't know if that's two or 10 or somewhere in between, probably more like somewhere in between, but I don't want to get into predictions.

"We have to be very realistic and honest with ourselves, with our fans, to say that this is going to be a journey, so I think everyone needs to recognise that."

Brown left the door open for further changes down the line, with this week's reshuffle billed as the start of the process of getting McLaren back to the front.

"Yesterday is the start of the journey, we're not done," said Brown.

"We're ultimately working towards developing a faster racing team and a faster racing car, so I would not look at what we've announced as a finished product.

"That is the starting point."

Brown would not set a firm target for the rest of the season, but insisted the team has not given up on fourth in the constructors' championship - currently held by Renault, 18 points ahead.

"We're in a pretty big fight for fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh - all the teams are very close there," said Brown.

"I don't want to make predictions, that has got us into trouble in the past so I don't want to repeat some of the mistakes we've made.

"What I'd like to do and what we are going to do is fight like mad to finish fourth in the championship."

shares
comments
Fans get shot at making new form of F1 coverage with Innovation Prize

Previous article

Fans get shot at making new form of F1 coverage with Innovation Prize

Next article

F1 penalty rules mean drivers are not allowed to race - Vettel

F1 penalty rules mean drivers are not allowed to race - Vettel
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams McLaren
Author Edd Straw
How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve Plus

How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve

Daniel Ricciardo has found a new lease of life at McLaren – a move that’s been years in the making, as he explains to STUART CODLING…

The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari Plus

The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari

Ninety years ago, Rudolf Caracciola became the first non-Italian to win the epic Mille Miglia. We look at how he stacks up to the most famous pre-war ace Tazio Nuvolari, one of the drivers he beat on that day in 1931

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Plus

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Plus

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Plus

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021
The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future Plus

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future

The Formula 1 world reacted with surprise when it learned Lewis Hamilton’s long-awaited new Mercedes deal guarantees his presence on the grid only until the end of 2021. Both parties claimed publicly they were happy with the arrangement but, asks MARK GALLAGHER, is there more to it than that?

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021
How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again Plus

How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again

Driver-turned-DJ Jaime Alguersuari lost his love for motorsport when he was booted out of Formula 1 just as he was starting to polish his rough edges. Having drifted from category to category then turned his back on racing altogether in 2015, he’s come full circle and is planning a return in karts for fun

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021