McLaren reach major milestone in bid to return to front of F1 grid

Henry Valantine
McLaren driver Lando Norris at the Canadian Grand Prix. Montreal, June 2023.

Lando Norris ahead of team-mate Oscar Piastri during the Canadian Grand Prix.

Zak Brown has revealed that the infrastructure changes taking place at McLaren have put the team in a position to be “world championship team” by next year, in terms of off-track facilities.

The McLaren Technology Centre has been undergoing a significant overhaul, with an in-house wind tunnel and new simulator being put in place, to replace their previous one that was 20 years old.

Along with significant behind-the-scenes hires such as Ferrari’s David Sanchez and Rob Marshall from Red Bull yet to make their way over to Woking, the cogs are falling neatly into place for the team to fight at the front again in future, according to their CEO.

Zak Brown: McLaren have closed ‘big holes’ of previous years

McLaren had a surge in form in the races leading up to the summer break after a raft of upgrades brought to the MCL60, and Brown believes the work going on at the team’s factory has played its part in the team’s success.

While Brown does not expect to see the full impact of the team’s work come to fruition until their 2025 car, with their new arrivals bedding in properly and a full year to add their stamp to McLaren, he believes that the team is operationally in a good place to be able to compete at the front of Formula 1.

“I think, other than constant fine-tuning, there’s not big gaps like we’ve had the last five years,” Brown told Autosport.

“Not having our own wind tunnel, having a 20-year-old simulator, being behind in CFD technology, those were big holes. Now this is going to be about fine-tuning.

“There isn’t anything that we’re staring at that is like, ‘We need a new wind tunnel’. All that will be in place, other than you’re obviously always fine-tuning, we’ll have everything that we need.

“So, what we need at that point is time for it all to come together, culturally, communications. But we won’t be making lots of announcements.

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“Then it’ll just be about refining, learning, improving. But we’ll have everything by January 1st in place to be a world championship team. Other than we just need some time.

“We have different leadership and structure. Then we have new people coming in, which should be another contribution to performance.

“While we’ve got everything coming online now, like the wind tunnel, it really won’t be until 2025 that everything has started from a clean sheet of paper with the new structure and people in place. Rob Marshall, David Sanchez – they don’t start until January.

“Our 2024 car is already in the works with not all of our current infrastructure and not our final full team. So, it’ll be 2025. But look at what we’re capable of with what we have.

“I’m quite proud of everything that the team has done. So, everything that we’re bringing in is additive, just more horsepower, which we should then see another step up in 2025.”

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