James Key’s decision to join McLaren shows that highly rated targets want to join the team despite its recent struggles, according to Zak Brown.
McLaren announced during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend that Key will join as technical director, but no start date has been announced as he remains under contract with Toro Rosso. Key is the biggest name to date to join McLaren as part of its ongoing technical restructuring, and while it is currently seventh in the constructors’ championship, Brown says it shows the team can still attract top talent.
“James is I think one of the most respected and admired technical directors in the sport,” Brown told RACER. “So I think it was a great win for McLaren getting someone of James’ caliber to join us.
“We’re on a long-term strategy so what we’re doing is trying to move the team forward but it’s going to be a bit of a journey and you’re not going to get everyone you want overnight. We’ll be patient and he’ll be with us soon enough.
“I think McLaren’s a great team and brand and I think when someone like James sees the opportunity to help get McLaren back to the front I think that’s very attractive for people. When we are meeting with people that want to join the team, they all know that we can do it and have the ability to do it.
“That’s why I joined. I joined at maybe the low point certainly in McLaren’s recent history, but I relished that opportunity. I think you get people that are confident in their abilities and know they can contribute and are highly motivated individuals. The opportunity to bring McLaren back to the front is a great opportunity for someone who wants to go racing.”
After seeing a number of departures on the technical front this year following a disappointing 2018 to date, Brown says it was also important to show McLaren is proactively trying to improve its current situation.
“Definitely it was very welcome news for the team when they heard James Key. That got everyone excited. There’s more to come. So definitely when you’re restructuring some people depart but then you’ve got to make sure some people arrive.
“I think we’ve demonstrated that we are not sitting still and aggressively changing our ways of working because our results in recent times have been completely unacceptable. You’ve got to change your ways otherwise you won’t get any different results.”