McLaren boss issues Red Bull with ‘ready for that top step’ warning

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull and McLaren battle on track.

Red Bull and McLaren battle.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said the novelty of picking up P2 finishes has already worn off, with the focus now being on cracking the victory scene Red Bull had on lockdown last season.

McLaren proved to be one of the major talking points of 2023, emerging as arguably the most improved team across the season.

Starting out with an MCL60 which was far closer to the back of the grid than the front, in-season development saw them rise to regular podium challengers with a final tally of nine, seven of those P2 finishes, while Oscar Piastri took the sprint win in Qatar.

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But while McLaren enjoyed spells as the second-fastest team, Red Bull were the outfit picking up the wins. They claimed a remarkable 21 out of 22 grands prix victories claimed, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz denying the championship winners an undefeated season with his victory in Singapore.

Red Bull are expected to remain a leading force with their F1 2024 challenger, the RB20, though they anticipate the competition to grow stronger, with Brown setting the target of ensuring McLaren make that prediction come true.

P2 finishes were nice, but now, they head into F1 2024 wanting wins.

Asked by talkSPORT about the prospect of McLaren returning to grands prix-winning ways, Brown replied: “I don’t think they’re far away. recommends

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“We’ve had another good off-season but you never know what the other nine teams have done.

“We certainly have drivers capable of winning races and we certainly have a team capable of winning races and the second half of last year we had a race car that was pretty close to winning races.

“We’ve built a faster race car in the off-season so we’ll have to wait and see, we don’t know what the other teams have done but winning is certainly our ambition.

“Second places were great last year but we’ve had enough of them to be ready for that top step.”

McLaren has suffered an extensive absence from the F1 title scene, the eight-time Constructors’ champions having last lifted the trophy in 1998, with their most recent Drivers’ crown coming in 2008, the first of Lewis Hamilton’s seven World titles.

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