McLaren chief Zak Brown believes the revitalised former world champions have all the “pieces of the puzzle” at their disposal to succeed again in F1 – and now must put them together, as they bid to return to race-winning contention in future seasons.
Just three years after finishing ninth in the Constructors’ Championship, McLaren returned to the top three for the first time since 2012 this year after pipping Racing Point and Renault in a close season-long fight to be the leaders of the pack behind Mercedes and Red Bull.
McLaren secured the position at the final race on the day they announced significant new investment from MSP Sports Capital as part of a deal that will see the US investors ultimately purchase 33 per cent of the team by the end of 2022.
On the track, McLaren are reuniting with Mercedes engines next year while seven-time race winner Daniel Ricciardo joins to replace Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz next to rising star Lando Norris.
Speaking to Sky Sports News in Abu Dhabi, chief executive Brown replied when asked if the team had the elements they needed to return to the front: “I think we do have everything that we need.
“It’ll take time. Andreas Seidl has done an unbelievable job leading the Formula 1 team. We’ve got two great drivers. We’ve got the Mercedes power plant. We’ve got fantastic men and women at the racetrack and back at the factory all building towards this race car to make it go as fast as possible.
“So, I think we need some time for it all to come together, but I don’t think there are any pieces to the puzzle missing now. We’ve just got to put the puzzle together.”
McLaren’s championship finishes since 2012
|Year||Engine supplier||Placing / Points|
|2013||Mercedes||5th / 122 points|
|2014||Mercedes||5th / 181 points|
|2015||Honda||9th / 27 points|
|2016||Honda||6th / 76 points|
|2017||Honda||9th / 30 points|
|2018||Renault||6th / 62 points|
|2019||Renault||4th / 145 points|
|2020||Renault||3rd / 202 points|
With a budget cap with an initial limit of $145m being introduced in F1 for the first time from 2021, McLaren – who pushed hard for a big reduction in spending in the sport to help level the playing field – are optimistic they are on the right path to ultimately competing at the front again.
“We’ll run at the cost cap now, so I think we’ll be back being one of the ‘big’ teams,” added Brown when asked about the impact of the investment.
“So it’s great. We’re turning on our wind tunnel project, all of our CapEx [capital expenditure].
“We have some catching up so do so it’s going to take some time, but I like the journey we’re on.”