2021 “very successful year” with a downer

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Even if McLaren lost third place in the constructors’ championship in 2021, McLaren CEO Zak Brown is overall satisfied with the past year. “We wanted to close the gap to the top, and we succeeded,” sums up the American looking back on the Formula 1 season.

“We scored more points per race than in the previous year. We had more podiums than the year before. We had our great one-two victory in Monza, we had our pole in Russia. Unfortunately, we slipped to fourth place. I think that shows how fierce the competition is in the sport, “said Brown.

Despite this setback in the championship, he believes 2021 was an important year for the Woking team, and not just because of Daniel Ricciardo’s surprise win at Monza, McLaren’s first win in nine years.

“The pit stops have gotten much, much better. Everything that we set out to do at the beginning of the season to move forward, we achieved with the exception of the constructors’ championship,” emphasized the 50-year-old.

Therefore the year has to be seen as “a very successful year”. “We are building on that so that we can hopefully fight for the World Cup again in a few years.”

The team has also found stability away from the racetrack as the McLaren Group raised £ 550 million in new investments this summer after suffering severe financial problems during the pandemic.

Zak Brown sees McLaren ready for the future

The capital increase followed the sale and lease back of the McLaren Technology Center in Woking and the sale of 15 percent of the racing team to the US investment group MSP Sport Capital at the end of 2020. McLaren was able to meet the Formula 1 budget limit and invest in its aging infrastructure .

A new wind tunnel is one of several planned modernizations under construction, with McLaren taking advantage of its investment plan for the long term.

“I think we are on the right track in every way,” says Brown. “We all have people on the spot. They are all very committed and have long-term commitments, regardless of whether they are racing drivers, team bosses, engineers or designers. I am really happy with our people, and that is the most important thing.”

“As everyone knows, we had financial challenges last year that we have all solved. We are now using the maximum resources to improve our technical infrastructure, and we are working on the budget ceiling.”

Investments will only fully develop from 2024

In addition to the wind tunnel mentioned, the McLaren CEO also names new technology trucks and a new simulator as an example of improved equipment: “We have made a lot of investments and are in very good financial shape, so that is all behind us.”

However, Brown admits: “Unfortunately, that will not be the case until the 24th season until we have finished building our infrastructure. Our wind tunnel will go into operation in another 18 months, and then development of the 24th car will begin.”

With a view to the upcoming Formula 1 season in 2022, the American says: “We will make the best of what we have – by 2024, when we can say that we have everything we need.”

With images from Motorsport Images.

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