McLaren CEO Zak Brown has explained why it will take a few years before the team will have the necessary foundations in place to challenge at the front.
The British squad has invested heavily in new infrastructure and development facilities, with the new and improved wind tunnel scheduled to come online halfway through the 2023 season.
Considering where McLaren found themselves in 2017 – from a sporting and financial perspective – their gradual ascendancy up the field has been commendable.
However, the 2022 season was a reminder that the Woking-based outfit still needs to make significant gains to re-establish itself as a team capable of consistent race victories.
McLaren still finds itself in F1’s midfield, a position which is not befitting a team with such impressive history and accolades.
New infrastructure is no guarantee of improved performance, but it can certainly help accelerate this process. With the 2026 regulation changes only a few years away, McLaren wants to lay the foundations to compete at the front of Formula 1 in the long term.
Covid-related logistical issues have delayed the introduction of McLaren’s new facilities, which has put the teams a few steps behind their ideal trajectory. With that said, measures such as the new budget cap have eliminated the sizable discrepancy in spending which existed between F1 teams only a few years ago.
Considering the increasingly even landscape in F1 – in terms of spending – alongside the allocation of wind tunnel time, the British team only has a small window where excuses for lack of progression will be accepted.
As quoted by racingnews365, Zak Brown has offered details on when McLaren expects to compete for race wins:
“Starting in 2024, I want to be knocking on the door [of the front-runners].
“Because of our technology and infrastructure, we won’t have the full benefit in 2024, as the wind tunnel comes online in the middle of this year.
“Which means our ’24 car will start development in some of our older technology and transfer over to the new.
“So, really, it is 2025 [when McLaren can fight at the front], and we’ve got everything we need. We have no excuses.”