McLaren not expecting 2019-style "huge step" in 2020

Zak Brown says he does not anticipate McLaren making the same "huge step" with its 2020 Formula 1 challenger as it did last season.

McLaren not expecting 2019-style "huge step" in 2020

McLaren was a subdued sixth in its first season with Renault engines in 2018, following a turbulent three years with Honda, but was one of the surprises of last season as it finished fourth in the constructors' championship.

That included beating its supplier Renault, and Carlos Sainz recording McLaren's first podium finish since 2014 when he was promoted to third in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Brown said at Autosport International last year that McLaren anticipated a "good" 2019 car, and speaking on stage at this year's show said the team felt "pretty good" about its 2020 challenger but knows challenging regularly at the front will not "happen overnight".

"We need to keep going forward," said Brown. "We had a huge step, obviously, from 2018 to 2019.

"Part of that was we were so poor in 2018 that it was hard not to take a big step in 2019. So I don't see that same step coming from 2019 to 2020.

"The regulations are very, very similar, so I don't think the grid's going to look a lot different. There'll probably be a little bit of surprise here and there.

"Hopefully Williams gets a little bit stronger, that's not good to see them have the year that they had. So hopefully they'll pick up the pace a bit.

"For us, we're still a young team. James Key didn't develop last year's car, this year's [he] did. So let's see what that looks like. Andreas Seidl only joined in the middle of the year.

"Really, what we need to do is just get tidier, more race fit, get a good head-start, the 2021 car's already in the wind tunnel, we feel pretty good about the 2020 car.

"And we just need to kind of keep head down and know that it's not going to happen overnight.

"We're going to have some great weekends and we're going to have some bad weekends. But let's just hope that we keep moving forward."

Read Also:

McLaren has retained Sainz and Lando Norris for 2020, and Brown said the relationship between the two was "the best part" of 2019.

"They didn't know each other before and when we first introduced them, I think as Carlos said in one of his interviews, Lando was a bit shy, but they get along really well when they're on the track with each other," said Brown.

"I'm not nervous, unlike maybe the Haas duo; when they're around the track or anybody, I get nervous. They've got a real respect, but they they race each other really hard.

"And they they've been very great to work with and the sponsors and I think all the fans really enjoy them. It's great in this kind of new era of Formula 1 to expose what goes on in Formula 1 in a more natural way."

shares
comments
How Mercedes fooled 'naive' rivals in 2019

Previous article

How Mercedes fooled 'naive' rivals in 2019

Next article

Nissany gets Williams practice outings in new test driver role

Nissany gets Williams practice outings in new test driver role
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams McLaren
Author Jack Cozens
Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Prime

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to Stuart Codling, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion.

Formula 1
May 15, 2021
How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean? Prime

How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But how long will their battle remain clean? Jonathan Noble ponders that exact point

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Prime

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Prime

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button.

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Prime

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021