McLaren is not yet targeting fighting for championships in Formula 1 while it catches up with its infrastructure, despite the new regulations coming into force.
2022 sees brand-new car concepts being introduced, with a change in aerodynamic philosophy meaning there is the opportunity to mix up the competitive order of the grid. However, McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown believes such a change comes too early for his team to use to become championship contenders, given its ongoing project to build a new wind tunnel.
“I don’t think (the championship is a realistic target),” Brown told RACER. “As far as a title contender we’re still catching up on our infrastructure and specifically our wind tunnel, and it’s such a critical element of car development that we are hindered there.
“It is what it is, we’ll do the best we can but we fell behind on our infrastructure quite a bit. Now, even though we’ve bought everything, it’s taking time to implement and the wind tunnel is still a couple of years away.
“So, can we win a race? We won one last year convincingly, almost two. I don’t want to get into race predictions — I don’t want to do what Aston did and say, ‘You haven’t seen anything yet’ and then they went totally backwards! Our goal is to be more competitive than we were last year. That’s our goal.”
Not only did McLaren win a race at Monza last season but it secured what turned out to be the only one-two result of 2021, something Brown still struggles to believe.
“It is crazy, given the quality of when (Valtteri) Bottas turns it on and (Sergio) Perez turns it on, I’m surprised we’re the only ones that had a one-two.”