Zak Brown ignores Hamilton and Verstappen in ‘world’s greatest’ claim

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton at the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown believes they have the “world’s greatest” driver line-up with Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, thus overlooking the dominant forces of the past decade, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

A huge F1 2024 campaign looms for McLaren, as they look to continue building on their momentum generated through a remarkable 2023 surge.

With nine podiums claimed, plus a sprint victory via Oscar Piastri in Qatar, McLaren look poised to return to the victory scene, with Brown believing they have the best two drivers for that job.

Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri line-up ‘world’s greatest’

Verstappen laid down a dauntingly high benchmark though in 2023, winning 19 of the 22 grands prix as he and Red Bull go into the new campaign as clear favourites for further title glory, Verstappen looking for a fourth title in a row, having taken over from Hamilton as the dominant F1 force.

But, with Norris and Piastri, Brown believes McLaren has the best line-up for the job of taking McLaren back to F1’s summit.

“You need the world’s two greatest Grand Prix drivers; I think we’ve got the best driver line-up in Formula 1,” Brown told Sky F1 in regards to what a team need for success. recommends

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McLaren has work to do though to ensure that their exciting young driver pairing remains in place long-term, with Norris’ contract up at the end of 2025. Piastri signed an extension during his rookie 2023 campaign to keep him at McLaren until the end of 2026.

Brown is well aware that Norris is “hot property”, a driver who has been regularly linked with a future Red Bull move, the team openly admitting they are monitoring his situation, but Brown is confident that Norris remains “all-in” with the vision of returning McLaren to title-winning ways.

“We do have a little bit more runway with both but certainly, he’s [Norris] hot property, if you like,” said Brown. “So, we’d like to lock him down sooner rather than later.

“I think he’s very much enjoying his time at McLaren – the dream is to win races and a World Championship together and I think Lando’s all-in for achieving that with us.”

And Brown firmly believes that McLaren has the assets to make that dream a reality, as alongside that confidence in their drivers, he confirmed the team is now operating at a profit while also at the ceiling of F1’s budget cap.

“The resources we have now are exactly where we need to be,” Brown declared.

“We’re a profitable racing team, which is great. We run at the cap and resources will not hold us back from achieving anything that we need to achieve, drivers included.”

Norris will be out to finally pick up a first victory during F1 2024, having now tied Nick Heidfeld for most podiums without a win with 13.

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