Brown sets 2024 ‘no excuses’ target for McLaren wins

July 28, 2021 0 By JohnValbyNation

McLaren CEO Zak Brown says that the team will have no excuses if it isn’t starting to win races by 2024.

That’s when the team is scheduled to have addressed its current infrastructure deficit to key rivals Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari with the completion of a new windtunnel and simulator at Woking.

Currently the team is relying on an ex-Toyota facility in Cologne for windtunnel testing, while its driver-in-loop simulator is said to have originally been one of the first of its kind and now just hanging on thanks to software updates.

Major investment in the race team together with the sport’s introduction of a $145 million spending cap means that McLaren are now in a position to be able to recover some of that lost ground to the other teams.

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“We will have been caught up by 2024 with all of our infrastructure, most specifically the windtunnel,” he said in comments reported by this week.

“Unfortunately, we’re in one of the less technically developed windtunnels and that’s a huge disadvantage,” he acknowledged. “We will have no excuses come the 2024 season.

“At that point the sport is going to be so competitive that there’ll be a variety of teams fighting for the championship,” he suggested. “I’d like to think we would be one of them.”

After the dark days of its doomed partnership with Honda, McLaren rebounded to form with Renault engines in 2019 and 2020, before switching to Mercedes power units for the current season.

McLaren are now in third place in the constructors championship behind Red Bull and Mercedes, with 15 points in hand over Ferrari. Lando Norris has finished on the podium three times so far at Imola, Monaco and Spielberg.

A key part of that renaissance has been due to the refinancing of the company which has involved the sale-and-leaseback of the McLaren Technology Centre and attracting new investors.


But Brown cautioned that it takes time to put the money to good use and for the results to start filtering through, meaning that expectations had to be tempered.

“While we now have the annual resources to compete at the same level as everyone else we are behind on our infrastructure,” he pointed out. “While we’ve let loose the investment it’s simply going to take time

“Most notably the windtunnel – and given how important that is, we can’t make up that lost time.

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“We’re writing the cheques for it, but it’s going to take a couple years to finish,” he continued. “We really won’t be, in our opinion, caught up on our infrastructure until the 2024 car comes out.

“Until then we will be doing the best we can with the equipment that we have. But I think until we get caught up it’ll be difficult to think that we could beat those guys [Red Bull and Mercedes] in a straight fight.

“We’re going to give it our best shot, and you never know with the new formula who’s going to get it right, who’s going to get it wrong.

“We’re going to give it our best shot but I think we should manage expectations that it’s going to get tougher from here on out.”

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