McLaren chief executive Zak Brown has indicated the team are close to making more major appointments in personnel, with “significant developments” also in the pipeline for the MCL60 car.
The team sit fifth in the Constructors’ standings, level on points with 2022 rivals Alpine, ahead of this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix after a difficult start to the new season.
Having admitted to missing development targets with the MCL60 over the winter, McLaren parted company with technical director James Key in March as part of a technical restructure, with the highly regarded David Sanchez set to assume the role upon his arrival from Ferrari next January.
Despite the team’s current woes, Brown remains unmoved from his plan to return McLaren to race-winning contention next season ahead of a title challenge when F1’s next big rule changes come into effect in 2026, when he says the team will have all the necessary building blocks in place.
He told the F1 Nation podcast: “We’re in good shape from a driver standpoint.
“So if I look at the things that we need to get back to the front, you need two great drivers – I think we have those.
“You need your technology, infrastructure being state of the art and on par with the competition – we’ll have that done by the end of the year. We’ve talked a lot about the wind tunnel, simulator and manufacturing unit. These things are all very close to being done. Some of them are done.
“So we’ll have the technology, then it’s people and we have some exciting announcements coming up soon. We have a great team, but we need some additional thinking and some fresh ideas.
“Some of those announcements we’ve made – more to come – [and] those people will all be joining us over the next nine months, so by the end of the year we’ll have our team in place, we’ll have our infrastructure in place, we’ll have our drivers in place.
“But we’re already working on the ’24 car now so we won’t be at our full fighting capacity for the start of the ’24 development because that’s happening now.
“So I think our goal next year is to get back to a 2021-type season – a handful of podiums, a pole, a win, mixing it up – and then [in] ’25 we will have had everything that we need, and for the sufficient time, so I’d like to think we’re going to be winning races in ’25.
“And then once you’re winning races, we’ve got the new era starting in ’26. On paper, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be fighting for the Championship.”
McLaren took the first major step to solving the MCL60’s problems with the introduction of a new floor in Azerbaijan but suffered a disastrous weekend at the following round in Miami where Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri fell at the first stage of qualifying.
Brown is confident of an improved performance in Monte Carlo – and has revealed the next major step in terms of car development is pencilled in around the time of the Austrian and British rounds in early July.
“Miami sucked. Clearly disappointing,” he commented.
“We’re getting to know more about our car and we understand where we needed to be in Miami. So the first step, if you have an issue, is understanding it versus scratching your head, being confused.
“I think we’ll go alright in in Monaco.
“We obviously came to the table with an underdeveloped car at the start of the year. We knew that, we called our shot, and it turned out we knew we weren’t going to be where we want to be. But the exciting part is we think we’re going to get a lot better.
“For Monaco not a lot of development, so I think it’s going to be more second half of the year, but we run well at at Monaco and we think it’s a track that suits our car more than Miami, so I think we should be OK.
“But it’s it’s very tight, the field, so you only need to be off by a tenth or two to be right towards the front or right towards the back.
“I think race cars can be temperamental in their characteristics. Obviously, the great race cars are good in all conditions.
“We have a car that doesn’t like a lot of heat, it’s rear-limited. Miami was hot, it was a new circuit and lacked some grip as a new circuit would, so Miami was a circuit like Bahrain that just doesn’t suit our car.
“Obviously, when we get a better car, you want to smooth out where your highs and lows are and have a better average.
“I think Monaco will will be better. We feel good about Montreal, we’ll start having some more significant developments coming around Austria and the British grands prix and hopefully are on track for a strong second half of the year.”