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
Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Plus

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Plus

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well-aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead on pace. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping

Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent Plus

Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent

While Japan's fever for motor racing is well-documented, the country has yet to produce a Formula 1 superstar – but that could be about to change, says BEN EDWARDS

Formula 1
Apr 15, 2021
Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration Plus

Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration

For too long, F1's richest teams have justified being able to spend as much as they want because that's the way they've always conducted their business. STUART CODLING says that's no reason not to kick a bad habit

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Plus

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is not guaranteed

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition Plus

The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition

In 2017 new F1 technical regulations were supposed to add drama - and peg Mercedes back. STUART CODLING looks at the car which, while troubled, set the stage for the wide-bodied Formula 1 era

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return Plus

The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021