McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown insists that the Formula 1 team is still far from where it wants to be despite an impressive turnaround in form this season.
McLaren ended 2018 with the second-slowest car at many venues, and its poor performances in qualifying – it was a regular casualty of Q1 – also carried over to the races, including a miserly haul of four points from the last six races.
This year, however, it has already far exceeded last season’s final tally of 62 points, and is sitting comfortably fourth on 82. While Brown is pleased with the turnaround so far, he says there is a lot of work remains before the team can close the gap to the frontrunners.
“I definitely joined in probably the most difficult period in the team’s history, but to me that’s the exciting part,” Brown said. “That’s the challenge. What we needed to do was provide clear leadership and direction, and ensure the right people were in the right places. I think we’re now going in the right direction. The decisions we have made are paying off, but there’s still a long way to go.”
While the team’s improvement has coincided with this season’s appointment of new senior personnel in team principal Andreas Seidl and technical director James Key, Brown says it was existing staff who had the biggest impact on this year’s car.
“The team has performed very well over the first half of the year, achieving the goals we set, whether that’s improving launches, pit-stops, the ultimate pace of the car, and of course both drivers have done an excellent job,” he said.
“We had a very good off-season, which saw us start to make changes. It’s good to see it all coming together, and I now have my leadership team in place with Andreas and James joining us.
“To ensure we finish fourth in the constructors’ championship, we need to execute the second half of the year well, like we have in the first half.
“Andreas and James have settled in quickly and are providing great leadership. I’m excited to see them take things forward. They came into the team when the 2019 car was effectively complete. It’s therefore important to pay testament, and say congratulations, to all of the men and women that put their heart and soul into producing a better car for 2019.”