McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown is full of optimism for the future, saying the new era of Formula 1 is in the “sweet spot” for McLaren.
For the 2021 season teams will now be running to a budget cap of $145m, a figure which is then set to decrease further over the coming years.
This comes in the build-up to an overhaul of the sporting and technical regulations, with the new generation of Formula 1 cars set to arrive in 2022, one year later than scheduled.
The team arguably in prime position to take a real step forward under the new regulations are McLaren. After a very difficult spell the Woking outfit are back on the right path, finishing P3 in the 2020 Constructors’ Championship, while they are now operating at budget cap level.
Financially at least this means they are back on terms with the biggest spenders in Formula 1, and Brown says the new rules are in the “sweet spot” for McLaren as they look to return to the front on track.
“The new era of Formula 1 plays right into our sweet spot,” Brown told Autosport.
“The budget cap, we’ve had to reduce our spend a bit, but not to the same level as the other three [Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull] that were significantly outspending us.
“The governance is better, it gives more power to Formula 1 and the FIA as opposed to the teams, because the teams with all the political power, with the previous governance, were able to better keep things shaped around their agenda. I think that gets neutralised.
“The revenue distribution didn’t make a big difference to us, but it’s going to make the sport more competitive. While we now have the ability to now be a big team, because we’re running at the budget cap, it’s also brought more competition from behind.
“We now have a better shot to catch the guys in front of us, but we need to pay attention.”
"Everyone is very motivated."
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) February 3, 2021
Brown plotted out the levels of spending he expects now that the budget cap has come into play, and believes six or seven teams will be operating at the limit.
“Effectively, you’ve got six or seven teams that are all going to run at the budget cap,” he continued.
“AlphaTauri is very well funded. They kind of keep their head down, but I don’t think that team is short of resources. Clearly Lawrence Stroll is investing a lot of money in his team. You then have Renault, who I think is at our level.
“You’ve got seven teams that I think are all playing with the same size bat, if you like, and I think that’s great. Not only do I think we have a better chance of getting first or second in the future, I think it’s a seven-car team race.
“I really don’t think you can write anybody off. But again, that’s good for the sport. I hope what we get to is more of an IndyCar-type championship, where your big teams are still the ones that win the championships at the end of the day, but other teams win races.
“It would be great if we went back to three or four race wins gets you the championship, not 14.”