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Brown: "We are years away" from fighting for wins.


Whether anyone really believed that in 2017 McLaren had the best chassis and that it was merely the Honda that was holding the team back is debatable.

In the same way, did anyone believe the Woking outfit would be challenging Red Bull this season, far less Ferrari and Mercedes?

Now, team boss Zak Brown, in the wake of the departure of Eric Boullier, and yet another management restructuring, is taking a more cautious approach, admitting it will be "years' before the Woking squad is a force again.

"This is going to take some time to fix," he admitted ahead of his team's home Grand Prix, a race the legendary team has won on 14 occasions.

"I think we are years away," he continued. "I don't know if that's two or ten, or somewhere in between. Probably more like somewhere in between, but I don't want to get into predictions.

I think we have to be very realistic and honest with ourselves, with our fans, with you, to say that this is going to be a journey. I think everyone needs to recognise that. I think we had a good finish in the last race relative to where we started, but we were uncompetitive.

"Not much has changed since the last race, so I think everyone needs to not starting having too high expectations, ourselves included, at Silverstone, because all that has really happened is five or six days have gone by.

"The structure is not allowing certain individuals to be as entrepreneurial as I would like them to be," he admitted, indicating yet another overhaul of the management in the pipeline. "It has not enabled them to make decisions quickly enough.

"I think sometimes there is an appropriate time for decision by committee and then I think there are also times when it should be decisions by individuals, and at times our decision making process and the speed in which we make decisions get gridlocked. That needs to change, and I think our biggest issue has been structural and organisational.

"There is great talent that we need to unleash that in the current environment has not been able to blossom. Also, bringing in people from the outside that have other experiences to help contribute to shaping a quicker, faster organisation."

In a startling admission, Brown revealed that the MCL33 has less downforce than its predecessor.

"We don't have the same level of downforce this year that we had last year," he said. "So we have identified an area in which our car this year is weaker than last year's car.

"Did we have the best chassis last year? No, definitely not," he added. "Did we have probably a better chassis? I think because of all the different variables it would be hard to definitively say yes or no, but we know we have less downforce this year than last year.

"Yesterday is the start of the journey, we're not done," he insisted. "We're ultimately working towards developing a faster racing team and a faster racing car, so I would not look at what we've announced as a finished product. That is just the starting point."

Despite the admission the American still believes McLaren could finish fourth in the standings, even though it has now slipped to sixth, just two points ahead of Force India.

"We're in a pretty big fight for fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh," he said, "all the teams are very close there. I don't want to make predictions, that has got us into trouble in the past so I don't want to repeat some of the mistakes we've made. What I'd like to do and what we are going to do is fight like mad to finish fourth in the championship."


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1. Posted by Chris Roper, 05/07/2018 19:20

">Not much has changed since the last race,

So the lack of a Team Principal is not Much Change?

I think he is more interested in his own personal Le Mans Team and his Tie in with Andretti in Indy than he is in McLaren.

This is starting to look like he is asset striping Mclaren to build his own empier.
I hope the Other Partners show him the door before it is too late."

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2. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 05/07/2018 19:18

"If Zak Brown had come out at the end of last year or even after testing this year and said what he said yesterday then McLaren fans would not be so p!##$d off. Annoyed, yes, frustrated, definitely but also cutting the team a tiny bit of slack to get their act together with Renault.

I cringe any time someone uses the word "journey" in situations such as McLaren find themselves as all this situation is, is a plan and a process for improving the situation to get to winning.

Looking back, to learn how to get their act together, what McLaren need to do is let their engineers and designers have a clean sheet of paper and start again regarding car development. It was done I think in 2004 having had Merc / Ilmor produce far from their best and a bad chassis. McLaren need to basically, pull a Newey.

It is past time for being humble and up front and realistic with fans, journos and themselves. That should have and should always be the way. I note that "partners" were not mentioned which is interesting in that McLaren have usually put them near the top of the tree considering they are not just providing stickers on the cars.

To beat the three top teams McLaren need to stop trying to invent new structures and just look at what works and Mercedes, Red Bull and even Ferrari. In fact, especially Ferrari after what that team did to get improvement. Buy in some help with people that have the necessary skills and experience. Look inside at the "talent" and let people step up to fill the void that is the current leadership.

And take a dose of William's humility."

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3. Posted by Schnauzers, 05/07/2018 19:09

"Quote yet again from the late & great Frank Gardner, "If Sh*t were snow, he'd blow a blizzard"

When Bernie took over Brabham, graffiti appeared in the works loos, "Come back Ron, All is forgiven".

Zak, please return to the States where you're a small fish in a large pond, but stop pretending you can swim in the F1 pond, you've proved you can't."

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4. Posted by Editor, 05/07/2018 17:59

"@ Motorsport-fan

Still there?

One of those most responsible was mouthing the words."

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5. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 05/07/2018 17:46

"It would be fair to say the people who are responsible for letting Mclaren get into this situation are in the main still there?"

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6. Posted by ESTMPRFT, 05/07/2018 16:55

"Two or ten ... or never? Brown has no clue. Time for more bloodletting.

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