Zak Brown makes prediction for when things will ‘really come together’ at McLaren

Michelle Foster
Lando Norris surrounded by McLaren mechanics in a pit stop. Miami May 2022

McLaren driver Lando Norris surrounded by mechanics in a pit stop. Miami May 2022

While McLaren’s new wind tunnel and simulator will have some bearing on their 2024 car, Zak Brown admits it won’t be until 2025 that the full effect of McLaren’s infrastructure upgrades are felt.

But that’s good timing as he reckons that will be about when new signing Oscar Piastri hits his stride.

McLaren are in the process of investing in the Formula 1 team’s future, building not only a new wind tunnel but also a simulator, with the former scheduled to be in play midway through this year.

That means the Woking team will be able to use it as they finalise their 2024 car with Brown admitting its full impact will only be felt on the 2025 car.

He, however, reckons that’s good timing.

Speaking on Speedcafe’s KTM Summer Grill, the McLaren CEO revealed: “It’ll start to impact our ’24 car.

“It will have full impact for our ’25 car because it comes online middle of the year, which means we’ll already be started on our ’24 car.

“So I think we’ll have everything we need fully up and running for the ’25 season. We’ll be kind of 80 per cent of the way there in the ’24 season. I think it times really well.

“Oscar is going to be a rookie next year, so no doubt being a rookie who has not raced for a year he’s going to need to get a little bit of his race rust off of him, which I’m sure will not take long – so I like the trajectory that we’re on.

“I like where we’re at with our drivers, where we are with our technology infrastructure, and feel like everything’s going to start to really come together in ’24/’25.”

Piastri will partner Lando Norris this season, the Briton contesting his fifth season with the Woking team.

This year’s McLaren will be designed using the team’s old wind tunnel with former team principal Andreas Seidl telling the media back in December that would be no excuse for not improving on 2022’s P5 in the Constructors’ Championship.

Engaging with Alpine in a season-long battle to be best of the rest, McLaren fell short by 14 points.

Brown says this year’s he’s not setting a target of P4 or even retaining P5, rather he wants McLaren to close up to the championship leaders and also Mercedes, that’s if they aren’t the team sitting up in P1.

“I think closing the gap to the front of the field,” he said of the team’s goals. “You know, we kind of have two data points that we pay most attention to.

“One is how close to the lead, the team that’s winning. And if that team is not Mercedes, our other data point given what a great team Mercedes is and we share the same engine, how close are we to Mercedes.

“Those are our two primary data points from a competitive standpoint, and we want to be closer to one next year than we were this year.

“Beyond that it’s hard to set a very specific number to that but of course, we’d like to get back up to at least fourth in the championship, but I think we’re going to need a little bit more of our technology in place to really be able to break into the top three.”

McLaren will unveil their 2023 car on February 13, joining Aston Martin on that day.

Read more: Lando Norris reveals his ‘hate’ for driving new-era Formula 1 cars