Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren, looks to the future of his team with great hope, but he also keeps a close eye on the upcoming season. Brown expects McLaren to take a big step, but he doesn’t know how the other teams are doing. The American expects a lot from the dominant Red Bull Racing, and he does not rule out that teams such as Mercedes and Ferrari will have a good season.
McLaren surprised friend and foe last season with the update that was introduced during the Austrian Grand Prix. From that moment on, the team was able to consistently compete for podium positions. So there are high expectations for the coming season and there is also a lot of positivity at McLaren. ‘We just keep doing what we do. We know we can only control our own racing team. We are pleased with what we are currently seeing in the wind tunnel and CFD. So we feel like we’re going to take a step forward,” Brown said at Speedcafe.
‘How big is this step? The big mystery at Red Bull is when they stopped development of their 2023 car,” the McLaren CEO continues. The Austrian racing team had an extremely dominant season. Only one race was ultimately lost, allowing the team to quickly shift focus to the 2024 car. “I also think they made the switch to the new car quite early, so we’ll just have to wait and see how much Adrian Newey magic is conjured up.”
“At the same time, Mercedes and Ferrari have everything they need and they are great teams,” Brown notes. Last season, McLaren mainly had to compete with Mercedes and Ferrari for podium places alongside Max Verstappen. The American expects a lot of opposition from Brackley and Maranello. ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if suddenly Mercedes is back with Lewis Hamilton winning a championship. It is a very tough and competitive championship.”
McLaren sees 2024 as ‘hybrid year’
After a good second half of the season in 2023, McLaren naturally hopes to take another victory next season. The many changes within the team provide a lot of satisfaction, but there is no pressure yet on the coming season. “I think 2024 is a bit of a hybrid year for us. We have the desire to win races, but only in 2025 can we say: everything in terms of technology and people is ready to run at full capacity. And that’s not that far away,” Brown said.