Zak Brown explains plan to “supercharge” McLaren

McLaren CEO Zak Brown has outlined the steps being taken by the team to climb the field and reach their target of becoming a front-running team in Formula 1.

The Woking-based squad enjoyed their best result of the 2023 season in Australia, securing strong points with Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri.

Whilst Piastri benefited from late-race incidents to finish in the top 10, teammate Lando Norris was on track to secure points irrespective of the late red flag.

In any case, both McLaren drivers deserve credit for avoiding the accidents and mistakes that cost many of their rivals in Albert Park – including Alpine, who McLaren has jumped in the standings.

Andrea Stella’s team can be pleased with their progression in Melbourne, taking a notable step forward (especially in race trim) that allowed them to compete for points on merit.

After a sequence of difficult races in Bahrain and Jeddah, McLaren has rocketed into 5th in the standings and demonstrated they have something to work with in the MCL36.

FP2 Australia

However, plenty of improvement will still be necessary if the Papaya team is to become a threat at the front. This is something that has already been acknowledged in Woking.

With this in mind, Zak Brown told Sky Sports what motivated McLaren to make significant changes to its personnel and structure in March:

“Well, I think when we put Andrea in as team principal, I wasn’t happy – we weren’t happy – with the pace of development last year.

“Which was a bit masked by the driver news, which was kind of the main story. We kind of stalled out. I asked Andrea to look at it, and ultimately, he felt the model wasn’t right. 

Australian GP data analysis

“Everyone talks about one person, but these are 800-person teams, so it takes 800 people to make a race car, not one. 

“So he wanted to have subject matter expertise in each area, design, concept, engineering, aero, all the things that go into that. 

“Andrea is a technical team principal, so it’s not like there isn’t a boss – it’s Andrea. 

“We’ve got recruitment, some of which we’ve announced, some of which – stay tuned, some of it has been reported, and more to come. 

“So we’re going to turbocharge the team, and I think we’ll be in good shape.”

Many of the reports Zak Brown touched upon were covered by, with McLaren acquiring talent such as David Sanchez from Ferrari.

The arrival of the team’s new wind tunnel is another boost, although it will take some time unit the British squad is able to fully maximize its new resource.

Until then, McLaren must optimize what they currently have available to improve its competitiveness.

Whilst Alpine failed to score points in Australia, the pace shown by Pierre Gasly – albeit DRS-assisted – is indicative of the increasing competitiveness across the field.

Andrea Stella has spoken extensively about the team’s hopes to progress throughout 2023, so it will be intriguing to see if McLaren can progress with their mid-season development.