McLaren is one of the sunny places on the grid this season. Besides the team faring well, the bond within the team is commendable. Even Zak Brown stated that he feels blessed to have such a good understanding with his team.
However, if we pull back the reels a couple of years, the picture for the UK-based outfit was different. The team was in turmoil and strategies started falling left and right. So, what happened and how did the English team overcome its demons?
The answer lies in the young lad that joined McLaren in 2018. Lando Norris made his debut in F1 with McLaren. However, back in the day, the picture showed a gloomy, sulky, and underperforming team.
“A few years ago the atmosphere and mentality in the team were not as good as they are today,” confessed Norris to Auto Motor Und Sport.
McLaren were the second most successful constructors in the history of F1. Well, at least for the sport, the team needed to pull up its socks. Lando Norris understood this fast and well, and he played a major role in holding the team together since.
In 2018, McLaren could only see a downward plummet ahead. With the team having a tough time with their power unit following a failed gamble on Renault, their game plan was falling apart. To aggravate, Fernando Alonso announced his exit from F1 the following season because of the failing form.
There came in Lando Norris, besides Carlos Sainz. He took an initiative at the time, similar to Lewis Hamilton on joining Mercedes. Together with the team support and his child heart, he helped McLaren rise like a phoenix from its ashes.
” I think what I did played a part in getting us there. But I don’t ask that of others now. It is something I enjoy doing and something that brings benefits.” concluded Norris.
Zak Brown had promised high hopes since 2018. With several changes in the technical team for the season, the team principal said that they ain’t done yet. While Christian Horner urged them to get back to form for the sport, McLaren were already cooking their winning recipe.
“We’re not done yet, both with bringing in talent, and our final structure.
“We have a good sense of what we’re going to do, but that’s not something that we want to make public, we just want to put our head down, and get on with the job.” Zak Brown had said.
Teams go through rough patches in this sport; Ferrari struggles through one at the moment. However, fighting hard out of the phase and seeking redemption is what their aim should be. McLaren’s struggle story is inspiring and a lesson for many on grid.