McLaren CEO Zak Brown believes that the team made great progress in 2019, but that reliability was the “weak point”.
The Woking team is expected to finish the championship in 4th place, but the 38-point lead over Renault could have been much greater if there hadn’t been several reliability problems. Looking to the future, reliability is a clear area of improvement for Brown.
“As for the best pit stops, last year we were seventh or eighth, this year we are about third,” Brown told ‘Crash.net’.
“If you look at the fitness of the team, if you want to call it that, you see a clear evolution not only of the race car and the drivers who are doing really well, but also the pit stops and the starts are getting better and better. We have to work on reliability, that was probably our weak point this year.”
Good laughs, good times at nineteen. Better laughs, better times at twenteen 😉 pic.twitter.com/6ToivwUHcm
— Lando Norris (@LandoNorris) November 13, 2019
But perhaps the biggest plus for Brown was the performance of Sainz and Norris and the relationship they developed in their first season together.
“I’m very happy with both drivers. I think everyone is impressed by the way they drove,” he says. “Especially Lando didn’t make the expected beginner’s mistakes. He was extremely mature, which I find very impressive for a driver of his age. The two are in an extreme competition against each other but in a healthy way, so I’m very happy with our driver line-up and their pace.”
For Sainz, coming to McLaren has been a reinvention of his racing career that was quite frankly starting to look rather tired under Red Bull and their driver programme. In fact, Sainz admits that there is a spark at McLaren that was not quite there with Toro Rosso and Renault.
“What sold me on McLaren was, first of all, the connection with Zak and how much this team wanted me to join,” recalls Sainz.
“As a driver, it’s very important to feel at home and feel that the team wants you. I’ve always felt at McLaren it was pretty much love at first sight since we started talking.
“It was very important for me, after the Renault and Red Bull periods where I never felt fully at home, that I went to a team that wanted me and that I could show my talent, so that was a big, big part of it.
“Then when I saw the restructuring going on inside McLaren, I realised how realistic they were about their chances, and how honest they were about why they had been so poor in recent years.
“I also saw a team in the making and wanting to move forward, which is exactly what I needed at the time.”
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