McLaren won’t challenge for F1 title until 2024
Sam Hall & Ewan Gale
McLaren CEO Zak Brown has suggested the team will not be in a position to contend for F1 titles until 2024.
The Woking-based outfit has vastly improved in recent seasons under the watchful eye of American Brown and team principal Andreas Seidl after struggling in the middle of the last decade.
Daniel Ricciardo earned McLaren’s first win since 2012 in Italy last year in addition to numerous strong performances from Lando Norris but such achievements the team still to fourth in the constructors’ standings behind Ferrari.
After overcoming financial difficulties with cash injections a year prior to the 2021 season, Brown believes the team now has a foundation to mount a championship charge but has hinted at another wait of two years before cementing its status at the top.
“I’m really happy with our people which is what is first and foremost important,” said Brown in an end-of-season media call including GPFans.
“As everyone knows, we had our challenges [in 2020] financially and those have all been resolved and now we are deploying our maximum resources to catch up on the technical infrastructure under the budget cap.
“The wind tunnel is under heavy construction as we speak. We’ve lots of investment so we’re financially very healthy so that is all behind us.
“Then, on track, we just want to continue each year until we have our infrastructure in place which, unfortunately, really won’t be until the ’24 season.
“It won’t be complete for another 18 months and of course, that is when you start developing the ’24 car and we will make the best with what we have, but it certainly won’t be until ’24 that we can say we have got everything we need.”
McLaren hit targets despite missing third
McLaren’s 2020 season was also plagued by a spate of poor pit stops with points being dropped because of errors.
Both Norris and Ricciardo benefited from quicker stops as well as good strategy calls last season and pointing to all the improvements the team has made on track, Brown explained: “We wanted to close the gap to the front and we have done that.
“We scored more points per race than we did [in 2020], we had more podiums than we did, we got our great one-two at Monza, we got our pole in Russia.
“Unfortunately, we’ve slipped to fourth. I think that’s just the nature of how the sport is.
“Pit stops are much, much improved, so everything we set out at the beginning of the season to continue to get towards the front, we hit every single one of those targets that were set out other than the constructors’ championship.
“We need to look back on the year and see it as a very successful year, and continue to build on our journey to get back to hopefully fighting for the world championship in a few years time.”
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January 14, 2022 at 09:15AM