Brown sets 2024 'no excuses' target for McLaren wins

McLaren CEO Zak Brown says that the team will have no excuses if it isn't starting to win... The post Brown sets 2024 'no excuses' target for McLaren wins appeared first on F1i.com.

Brown sets 2024 'no excuses' target for McLaren wins

McLaren CEO Zak Brown says that the team will have no excuses if it isn't starting to win races by 2024.

That's when the team is scheduled to have addressed its current infrastructure deficit to key rivals Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari with the completion of a new windtunnel and simulator at Woking.

Currently the team is relying on an ex-Toyota facility in Cologne for windtunnel testing, while its driver-in-loop simulator is said to have originally been one of the first of its kind and now just hanging on thanks to software updates.

Major investment in the race team together with the sport's introduction of a $145 million spending cap means that McLaren are now in a position to be able to recover some of that lost ground to the other teams.

“We will have been caught up by 2024 with all of our infrastructure, most specifically the windtunnel,” he said in comments reported by TheRace.com this week.

“Unfortunately, we’re in one of the less technically developed windtunnels and that’s a huge disadvantage," he acknowledged. “We will have no excuses come the 2024 season.

"At that point the sport is going to be so competitive that there’ll be a variety of teams fighting for the championship," he suggested. “I’d like to think we would be one of them.”

After the dark days of its doomed partnership with Honda, McLaren rebounded to form with Renault engines in 2019 and 2020, before switching to Mercedes power units for the current season.

McLaren are now in third place in the constructors championship behind Red Bull and Mercedes, with 15 points in hand over Ferrari. Lando Norris has finished on the podium three times so far at Imola, Monaco and Spielberg.

A key part of that renaissance has been due to the refinancing of the company which has involved the sale-and-leaseback of the McLaren Technology Centre and attracting new investors.

©McLaren

But Brown cautioned that it takes time to put the money to good use and for the results to start filtering through, meaning that expectations had to be tempered.

“While we now have the annual resources to compete at the same level as everyone else we are behind on our infrastructure,” he pointed out. "While we’ve let loose the investment it’s simply going to take time

"Most notably the windtunnel - and given how important that is, we can’t make up that lost time.

“We’re writing the cheques for it, but it’s going to take a couple years to finish," he continued. "We really won’t be, in our opinion, caught up on our infrastructure until the 2024 car comes out.

“Until then we will be doing the best we can with the equipment that we have. But I think until we get caught up it’ll be difficult to think that we could beat those guys [Red Bull and Mercedes] in a straight fight.

“We’re going to give it our best shot, and you never know with the new formula who’s going to get it right, who’s going to get it wrong.

“We’re going to give it our best shot but I think we should manage expectations that it’s going to get tougher from here on out.”

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Steiner expects Schumacher extension: 'Agreements are in place'

Haas F1 boss Guenther Steiner says he's confident that Mick Schumacher will sign an extension to his current... The post Steiner expects Schumacher extension: 'Agreements are in place' appeared first on F1i.com.

Steiner expects Schumacher extension: 'Agreements are in place'

Haas F1 boss Guenther Steiner says he's confident that Mick Schumacher will sign an extension to his current contract with the team within a matter of weeks.

The 22-year-old son of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher joined the team at the start of the year, making his F1 debut in Bahrain in March after winning the 2020 Formula 2 title.

An uncompetitive cars had meant that he is yet to finish in the top ten or score any points for the team.

But has consistently out-performed his team mate, fellow rookie Nikita Mazepin during the first ten rounds of 2021, although he came second best behind the Russian at the most recent British Grand Prix after the pair clashed at the start of the sprint qualifying race.

While Steiner confirmed that Mazepin already has a contract for next season - "everything is signed there, everything's fine" - Schumacher stirred interest last week by seeming to dodge questions about his own contract status.

"Obviously, my focus right now is really on here, now, and on the race," he told reporters at Silverstone. "We have the summer break, the summer shutdown coming soon, and that's really when I will be completely on that and then focus on that."

But Steiner gave a more confident impression, while acknowledging that the negotiations had been more complicated than usual given Schumacher's existing ties to Ferrari.

"There are a few things which just need to be sorted out," he told reporters last weekend. "It's a three-way contract, obviously, because he's got one with Ferrari.

"Because of [the] three-way it's always more difficult than when it is a straightforward one-to-one contact.

"There need to be a few t's crossed and a few i's dotted, and then we will get there," he added. [Mick is not] trying to say he's not signed. There are agreements in place."

There had been rumours that Schumacher might be snapped up by Alfa Romeo, which is also Ferrari-affiliated.

A change of team would allow the young German to show what he can do in a better car, after this year's Haas VF-21 proved deeply uncompetitive with few upgrades and developments available.

“These are rumours. This is Formula 1 playing up a bit," Steiner said of the Alfa stories. "At the moment it looks like we will be racing with the same driver pairing next year.

"We still have to clarify a few details, but everything else is clear. It won’t take long.”

Steiner added that it would be better for Schumacher's growth and development to stay where he was for a while longer.

“What is important for Mick to stay in the same team, to bring in a bit of a constant," he insisted. " He knows the people now, he knows our processes.

"I think he also likes to be part of the team. That’s why nothing speaks against him being with us remains.”

And Steiner insisted that if Schumacher did stay with the team in 2022 then he would be rewarded with a more competitive car.

“We’ll have a better car. How good, I don’t know yet. I’m confident that it will be okay. At the moment, nothing speaks against the fact that we won’t be as good or better as Alfa Romeo.”

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