Brown Pinpoints Brawn GP’s F1 Heroics for McLaren to Overcome Their Resource Deficit

Published 07/22/2021, 10:30 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – April 30, 2021 McLaren Chief Executive Officer Zak Brown talks in the Team Principals Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

McLaren has been having a very successful season so far. They stand third on the constructor’s board, holding their rival Ferrari at bay. However, the team has announced that it may have an infrastructure deficit until 2024. Fortunately, this will not stunt their competition with teams like Mercedes and Red Bull.


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The team’s wind tunnel is the former Toyota facility in Cologne, and its DiL (Driver in the Loop simulator) is outdated. Thus, team is building a new wind tunnel and simulator to further their progress as a midfield team.

Formula One F1 – British Grand Prix – Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Britain – July 16, 2021 McLaren’s Lando Norris in action during qualifying REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge

McLaren Racing’s CEO, Zak Brown, who believes it’s important to keep up with the expectations of the team, shared some information about the same.


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He said, “We will have been caught up by 2024 with all of our infrastructures, most specifically the wind tunnel… Unfortunately, we’re in one of the less technically developed wind tunnels, and that’s a huge disadvantage.”

They hope to take inspiration from Brawn, as Zak added, “Brawn obviously punched above their weight when they won the championship and they weren’t the biggest-resourced team, but also I think the rules are so much tighter now [that] to come up with a big, clear advantage like that is going to be more difficult.

“We’re going to give it our best shot.”

What’s happening at McLaren?

The team’s last win was in the 2012 Brazilian GP, and since then they have had to settle for podiums. The British team stood third in the constructors’ last year and are currently holding on to the same position.

As a Mercedes customer team in 2013 and 2014, their performance wasn’t where they wanted to be. The team then reunited with Honda for two miserable seasons. A brief stint with Renault in 2018 helped the team realize their problems.

Now, united with Mercedes, F1 has introduced a budget cap which is sure to increase the problems of the team, especially with new technical rules being introduced in 2022.

Formula One is an incredibly fast sport in technological advancement. Hence, it’s a major setback for McLaren to fall behind. However, Brown is hopeful, “We’ll have no excuses come the 2024 season and would like to think at that point the sport is going to be so competitive that there’ll be a variety of teams fighting for the championship. I’d like to think we would be one of them.”

Technical director James Key and team principal Andreas Seidl are the strongest part of the team now. They have the potential to bring the Papaya team out of the midfield and challenge the dominant forces with the resources they have.

The financial aspects

Claiming that it’s a medium-term goal, Brown explained the team has the annual resources to compete with their peers but falls behind on infrastructure. They’ve got the wheels turning, but the entire process will take the time that they don’t have.

And while we’ve let loose the investment, it’s simply going to take time, most notably the wind tunnel. And given how important that is, we can’t make up that lost time… We really won’t be, in our opinion, caught up on our infrastructure until the 2024 car comes out.”

Nonetheless, Brown promises that McLaren Racing will continue to push for the best.


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Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – May 22, 2021 McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo during practice REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

A 185 million euro deal, which was agreed to last year by the American investors, aided the infrastructure projects. They settled on a 15% stake rising to a maximum of 33%. This has kept McLaren Group the majority owner, still, a substantial part of the business has been given up. This reduces the monetary pressure on the group and allows the Racing division better chances.

The short-term gains have helped upgrade the technology being used on the 2022 machine. This results from the efforts the company made to stabilize its financial problems in 2020. James Key explained, “some investments are already kicking in that respect and we’re getting much more out of that side of things than we could before. Already, we’ve had some positive stories from the investment.”


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Shreya Sanjeev

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Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.