McLaren making amends after Honda decision ‘the worst they could have made’

Oliver Harden
Lando Norris, McLaren

McLaren driver Lando Norris flashes past at the 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Former F1 team principal Eddie Jordan has been left amazed by McLaren’s recovery since dumping Honda in “the worst decision they could have made” under chief executive Zak Brown.

McLaren reunited with Honda amid much fanfare in 2015, but the pair parted company at the end of three challenging seasons on track and a clash of cultures off it.

Honda went on to join forces with Red Bull, powering Max Verstappen to a third consecutive World Championship in 2023, while McLaren spent a brief period as backmarkers.

Eddie Jordan impressed by McLaren revival under Zak Brown

However, after a slow start to 2023, McLaren have emerged as Red Bull’s greatest threat in recent months with Lando Norris equalling his best result of second on six occasions since July and rookie Oscar Piastri winning the sprint race in Qatar.

Having been critical of the team’s decisions in the past, Jordan is full of praise for the turnaround under Brown and has admitted he didn’t see it coming after the decision to drop Honda.

Appearing on the Formula For Success podcast alongside former McLaren driver David Coulthard, he said: “I was very critical. I’ve been critical of McLaren in the past.

“I think people might think I have something [against] Zak. That’s not the case. If he makes some good things, then I will compliment him and I’ll criticise him if he makes some bad things.

“I think whoever made a decision to leave Honda was an absolute fool’s paradise. It was the worst decision they could have made – but they’ve come back from it. So full credit.

“They’ve changed the floor and you have to give the drivers some credit for that. I think what Oscar has done in that team, he’s shown that the car must be really OK to drive, because he’s a rookie coming in.

“You couldn’t expect him to know anything like what Lando does or vice-versa, but he’s able to drive the wheels off that car and I think that has probably upped Lando’s mojo in terms of what he now wants to do because he doesn’t want to be beaten by his young team-mate.

“So there’s a lot of things going for them. A lot of people didn’t think they could ever aspire to come up and challenge the likes of Mercedes or Ferrari, but they certainly have and the results are simply fantastic. A couple of DNFs probably has concerned them, but two great young drivers.

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“I enjoy McLaren. I always want to see them [do well]. I was a big, big fan of theirs in the Ron Dennis era and not many people could ever hope to stand in the same shoes as Ron in terms of his winning ability and his winning record – you’ve been there, you know what the man is like.

“So for this new group of people – and Zak is still there and doing an amazing job on the new sponsors they’ve got –  well done Zak and well done well done the team for getting what they have.

“I didn’t ever see that they would come back to this strength.”

Jordan’s comments come after McLaren team principal Andrea Stella revealed the team are aware of the team’s biggest weakness compared to Red Bull currently.

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