Brown not expecting McLaren championship bid in 2022

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In the round-up: McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown doesn’t expect his Formula 1 team to make the step up to being championship contenders this year.

In brief

McLaren still “catching up” – Brown

McLaren ended its nine-year wait for an F1 win last season. However Brown says the team still has work to do on its facilities to bring it up to the level of rivals such as Mercedes and Red Bull.

“Of course, we’re going to give it everything we’ve got,” he told Gulf Business. “But we still have a couple of years of technical catch-up that we just can’t accelerate any further or faster than we are.

“We still have technical infrastructure that we’re catching up on, most notably our wind tunnel. I’m not going into next year [2022] thinking we’re going to be a championship contender.”

Moto GP chief not envious of F1’s controversial finale

The head of motorcycling world championship Moto GP does not want to see a repeat of the acrimonious end to last year’s F1 season in his series.

“I would not like to have a Moto GP [season] finish like the one in F1,” Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Moto GP promoter Dorna, told Marca. Max Verstappen won the title by passing Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the race, but the move followed a questionable application of the rules which led to an unsuccessful protest by Mercedes. The finale “caused controversies that are not good,” said Ezpeleta.

“I like to have a championship, if it can be, until the very disputed end, but I don’t like that after the end they create doubt, that the runner-up doesn’t talk any more.”

Sauber Technologies formed

Sauber, which runs the Formula 1 team branded by car manufacturer Alfa Romeo, has formed a new division, Sauber Technologies, incorporating its engineering and aerodynamics departments. It plans to offer its F1-honed expertise to companies seeking solutions to complex engineering challenges.

Vowles switches from pits to track

Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles will compete in the opening weekend of the Asian Le Mans series later this month. Vowles will race in the GT class driving a McLaren 720S GT3, which he will share with Manuel Maldonado (cousin of 2012 Spanish Grand Prix winner Pastor Maldonado) and Nicolai Kjaergaard.

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Comment of the day

IndyCar’s top drivers deserve more credit, reckons Radoye:

Jacques Villeneuve came from CART and was immediately battling for the F1 world championship, winning on a second try.

Juan Pablo Montoya in a Williams was the only guy in F1 capable of mixing it with the Ferraris during the dark ages of guaranteed Schumacher-Barrichello one-twos.

Michael Andretti was set up to fail, once Senna’s contract was secured (initially it was Andretti and Hakkinen who were to drive for McLaren that year) he was no longer needed and his salary was seen as a luxury since much more affordable Hakkinen was already available.

Takuma Sato (who I love to pieces, you can’t meet a nicer guy in the paddock) has won a grand total of 6 races in his 12 seasons in IndyCar (granted, two of those were at the 500) – so on average once every two years – with best championship finish of seventh. His best F1 championship finish was eighth.

What Newgarden is saying is if you put Hamilton and Verstappen into a Hass F1 car neither of them would be fighting for the F1 world championship, despite being the best of the best. In F1 too much depends on car performance.

Nobody is arguing that IndyCar drivers are better than Hamiltons, Verstappens and Alonsos of F1 – these guys are simply on another level – but the fact is that beyond the handful of very best in F1 the differences between F1 and IndyCar level of talent aren’t that big.

An F1 backmarker pay driver (looking at you, Max Chilton) remains a backmarker pay driver in IndyCar as well, with an occasional outlier result due to much smaller differences in car performance and random luck. A proven IndyCar champion in a championship winning capable F1 car will be at the sharp end of any F1 field too.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Invoke, Oliver Queisser, Sriram, Photozen, Cucamest, Michael Brown and Noah!

On this day in motorsport

  • Tony Shelly, who started a single F1 race in 1962 and failed to qualify for two others, was born on this day in 1937

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 17 comments on “Brown not expecting McLaren championship bid in 2022”

    1. COTD: I do wonder the quantity of effect of the drivers on determining the performance of the car. For example, Hamilton has always been driving competitive cars and Vettel to some extent as well. Alonso on the other hand, only had probably 5 seasons of his entire career driving a car that is competitive. It is a bit deluded to say that you rely solely on the team to make a car that is competitive and at the same time suitable to your driving preferences. But many drivers keep on saying that F1 is a car-performance dependent racing sport, so maybe it is down to the drivers to trust their teams entirely for the car’s performance…?

      I have always believed that if the car is fast, but you can’t use its potential due it not suiting your driving style, then the driver is not maximizing the car’s performance. Fast cars do not always win championships. The driver and car must be compatible with each other. I’d take the RB16B over the W12 for 2021 season if I am to decide what car I will drive.

    2. I believe Martin Brundle once described the MP4-24 as the single worst F1 car he’d ever driven. Eddie Jordan said it was the worst car McLaren had ever built. In winter testing, it was three seconds off the pace. Even once they found and fixed the car’s fundamental design flaw, the car was only truly competitive because of the KERS system.

      And this was the car Lewis Hamilton was supposed to defend his first title with. He still won two races with it, if I recall.

      1. The MP4-24 was a tale of two halves. In the first half it was terrible and Lewis struggled for points let alone podiums and wins. His results in the first 9 races were: DSQ / 7 / 6 / 4 / 9 / 12 / 13 / 16 / 18

        Whilst the car may have been one of their worst, the implementation of the double diffuser and the overall development of the car during the year was impressive, resulting in 4 poles and results in the final 8 races of: 1 /2 / Ret / 12 (crashed whilst 3rd) / 1 / 3 / 3 / Ret (leading before brake problems).

        It’s quite remarkable that in a 15 year career, the worst car by far Lewis has driven still allowed him to take 4 poles, 2 wins and 5 podiums in the year.

        1. Yes, that’s what I often said: hamilton on average had a car better than almost every f1 driver, if you go back to the early years I believe there were strong drivers that always had great cars, such as ascari, fangio, clark, but in recent times it’s more evident.

          I think these stats about the 2009 mclaren look pretty similar to the 1996 ferrari, the 2nd worst ferrari schumacher drove (2005 being the worst).

          1. Agreed. See below. I took a few drivers and their careers, and put their cars into 4 categories based on the pace vs the rest of the field that year. As you can see Hamilton had by far the best cars for longest.

            1) able to fight for championship
            2) occasional podium
            3) midfield
            4) backmarker

            1) 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021
            2) 2009, 2011, 2013

            1) 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012,
            2) 2008, 2011, 2013, 2021
            3) 2004, 2009, 2014, 2018
            4) 2003, 2015, 2016, 2017

            1) 2021
            2) 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
            3) 2015

            1) 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006
            2) 1992, 1993, 1996,
            3) 1991, 2005, 2010, 2011, 2012

            1) 2008
            2) 2010
            3) 2006, 2007, 2009
            4) 2019

    3. surely motogp has already forgotten about 2015???

      1. That was Rossi spitting his dummy out as he chased his 10th title rather than the race directors affecting the outcome.

        I wish Dorna Sports ran F1. The presentation of their product is far more exciting and innovative than Liberty’s ‘stuffy’ approach.

    4. Sauber Technologies seems to like a crafty way of skirting the cost cap?

      1. Rausing and co. didn’t get the price they were asking for from Andretti, so they spin off the knowhow and sell that off at a later date. It’s nothing the other independents haven’t already done

    5. I don’t expect a championship challenge either. Ferrari, I could see doing so if everything goes well.

      Coincidentally concerning Ferrari, I wish they used a consistent pattern for car names like others or were more consistent with their namings.

      1. Ferrari, I could see doing so if everything goes well.

        Don’t tempt fate with comments like that!

    6. I like the way they do it @keithcollantine This may be a bit far fetched but like Williams does it with FW34..35..36 it’s like naming your child the year they are born and adding the first letters of mom and dad in front like Mick would be MC99. Ferrari way makes it a bit more special and unique.

    7. Of course McLaren will not fight for anything higher than top 3. They don’t have the capable drivers.

      1. Codswallop.

        1. @ferrox-glideh Haven’t heard that in maybe 40 years :)).

      2. @Sviat What ferrox glideh said.

    8. Brown not expecting McLaren championship bid in 2022

      It’s good practise to under sell and over deliver.

    Comments are closed.