McLaren against early driver swap with F1 rivals facing "disruption"

McLaren says it has zero interest in an early swap of 2021 drivers for this season, because it thinks it benefits with its current line-up while other teams are "destabilised"

McLaren against early driver swap with F1 rivals facing "disruption"

The Woking-based outfit was at the centre of the driver merry-go-round that was triggered by Ferrari electing not to extend Sebastian Vettel's contract in to next year.

Ferrari made a swoop for Carlos Sainz Jr to replace Vettel, while McLaren then signed up Daniel Ricciardo to race alongside Lando Norris. Vettel has just signed a deal to join Aston Martin.

With the 2021 deals in place, there have been some suggestions that it would make sense for all the teams to go for an early contract release - so the drivers can get a head start in getting to know their new teams.

However, McLaren CEO Zak Brown has brushed off any talk of McLaren accepting that - because he thinks the solid relationship his team still enjoys with Sainz is in contrast to problems that some rivals are having elsewhere.

"We're happy with our driver line-up this year," said Brown. "We're happy with everyone else's driver line-up this year.

"I think we have two drivers that are doing an excellent job, and some other teams which have disruption in their garage.

"So I think I want to continue the harmonious relationship we have going on right now. And I think if we were to consider changing that, it would maybe only be to the benefit of other teams that are maybe a little bit more destabilised in the garage."

McLaren currently sits in third place in the F1 world constructors' championship, and has a good chance of holding on to the best-of-the-rest spot behind Mercedes and Red Bull.

But while there are opportunities for this season, it is longer term that McLaren thinks its best opportunities lie - although it is mindful that other teams could benefit too.

"Ultimately, our goal is to catch whoever is in first place: and that's been Mercedes for quite some time," he said. "We're certainly encouraged that we are now racing Ferrari because we weren't last year and haven't been for quite some time.

"I'm more encouraged that we're closing the gap, and I think in 2022, with this reset for all of us, I think that gives us a great opportunity. That being said, Renault's coming on strong, Racing Point is quick and just got a four-time world champion.

"So I think while we want to catch the three teams that are in front of us now, or in this instance, currently two teams, I think we need to pay a lot of attention and recognise that teams four, five, six and even seven right now, are all going to be serious contenders when the budget cap comes in.

"Everyone's starting on a clean sheet of paper, which I think that then means we're going to have an awesome era of Formula 1."

shares
comments
Albon avoids media speculation over his F1 future with Red Bull
Previous article

Albon avoids media speculation over his F1 future with Red Bull

Next article

Horner: Verstappen has to get F1 frustration "out of his system"

Horner: Verstappen has to get F1 frustration "out of his system"
Load comments
The lessons F1 can take from the Masi "souk" deal criticisms Plus

The lessons F1 can take from the Masi "souk" deal criticisms

As Formula 1 heads to its Abu Dhabi season finale, the FIA and race director Michael Masi are under increased scrutiny, with radio messages broadcast during last weekend's race prompting discussion and controversy. But what can they learn from the Saudi Arabia debacle?

Why thrilling Jeddah F1 circuit needs to be safer Plus

Why thrilling Jeddah F1 circuit needs to be safer

OPINION: Saudi Arabia's new F1 circuit delivered a memorable first event, although not necessarily for all the right reasons. In the wake of the chaotic race, drivers voiced their concerns about the track but small changes could make significant improvements ahead of a return in four months

The long-term F1 vision causing Haas’s short-term pain Plus

The long-term F1 vision causing Haas’s short-term pain

From ranking as one of the most impressive new teams to join the Formula 1 grid, Haas’s stock has plummeted along with its on-track performances over the past two seasons. Everything now hangs on whether its reforged alliance with Ferrari can deliver a better car – and whether its rookie drivers can set aside their quarrels. OLEG KARPOV asks if any of these goals are achievable…

Formula 1
Dec 8, 2021
The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race Plus

The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race

OPINION: Max Verstappen has made the 2021 Formula 1 championship. He’s taken the fight to the all-conquering Mercedes squad and its dominant champion, produced driving displays few can match. But he’s been on a controversial course too, and finally crossed a particular line in Jeddah

Formula 1
Dec 7, 2021
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An ill-tempered Saudi Grand Prix made Formula 1 more soap opera than sporting spectacle at times, but there were some strong performances up and down the field on the world championship's first visit to Jeddah

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Plus

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
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

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
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