Love him or not, Zak Brown the McLaren CEO who ousted fans favourite Ron Dennis is developing the McLaren brand worldwide. By rejoining the Indycar series in 2020 – some 40 years after the McLaren team competed there under its founder Bruce – Brown was making a statement that McLaren was coming to America. In its inaugural year the Arrow McLaren Indycar team won there Indy500 rookie of the year with Pato O’Ward, finished 4th in the driers’ title race and collected six podiums.
For 2022 the Arrows McLaren team continued with just two drivers but managed a P2 and a P4 in the Indy500 will a realistic shot at the win during the closing laps. For 2023 the team will add a third driver, Alexander Rossi, to its line up with the hope of building on its incremental successes.
McLaren building a global brand
Meanwhile another British sportswear manufacturer is hoping to develop its global brand too. Though the Aston Martin team is placing its single seater racing ambitions firmly and only within Formula One.
Team boss Mike Krack claims the Silverstone based outfit are a “credible and active” while their midfield rivals just “talk.”
Aston Martin tied with Alfa Romeo in the constructors’ 2022 title on 55 points but were deemed to be P7 behind the Swiss based outfit on a count back system.
Yet had Sebastian Vettel been given a better race strategy in Sau Paulo, Aston Martin would have turned the tables on Alfa Romeo.
Aston Martin F1 season ruined in Brazil
Vettel ran as high as 5th in Brazil having managed to start in P9 ahead of team mate stroll in P16. During the grand prix Sebastian ran as high as P5 even passing Lando Norris early in the race as the British driver struggled with his tyres. However, the team allowed their German driver to be undercut by numerous others around him at about lap 25.
Then Vettel was given medium tyres for his final stint which cost him traction and places at the safety car restart.
Vettel’s race strategy was described by F1 commentators as disappointing and was the final straw which saw Aston Martin relegated from a possible championship P6 to P7.
Yet team boss Mike Krack believes Aston Martin is in a better place to deliver results than their rivals. When he talks of the midfield he is referring to McLaren and Alpine who both finished with more than 100 points than the Silverstone based team.
Aston boss talks of big steps forward
Krack told Spain’s AS this week, “The green team stands out because we are expanding, we are very serious about our ambitions.”
“It’s not just words, we are building a new headquarters, a new wind tunnel, we have hired a lot of very good people
“It’s a matter of making everything work together, but the potential of our project is absolutely real.
“There are teams that say yes, that in three years they will be winning, that in a hundred races they will be winning, but what are they doing to win?”
Midfield teams target 2025 for F1 championship contention
Both McLaren and Alpine claim to be on trajectories that will see them at the front winning F1 races and titles. The French team’s supremo Laurent Rossi discussed in public the “100 races project” back in 2021 that will transfer “les bless” into championship contenders.
This target in terms of time is around five years and coincides with the year cited by Zak Brown of 2025 for the Papaya team to also be fighting for titles.
Krack accepts for now the Silverstone based team are behind these two rivals but believes the arrival of Fernando Alonso is proof the team can overhaul their rivals soon.
Alonso believes in the Aston Martin F1 project
“That’s why Fernando was clear about it so quickly, in fact we didn’t even have to convince him, he already knew it. He has his contacts everywhere,” said Krack.
“We are credible, we are not only talking, we are acting.”
There are those who believe at 41 time is short for Alonso in F1, yet in other angle seater series such as IndyCar age is considered less of an issue.
“You say that he doesn’t have many years left in F1, I’m not sure that he agrees with that,” added Krack.
“If the motivation is there, plus the dedication, the physical and mental preparation, his talent and experience, I don’t think he has little time left.”
Fernando still one of the best F1 drivers
The Aston Martin boss believes Fernando is as good as anyone if the team deliver him a car to match those at the front.
“In a car identical to everyone else’s, in the front row,” said the Aston team boss when asked what his new driver can achieve.
“The main task is to provide a car that is capable of doing that for Fernando. If we produce it, he will put it where it should be.”
Mike Krack in a previous interview has claimed the 2023 Aston Martin F1 car is 95% new, so the talking will cease when the new green machine hits the circuit in anger at the pre season Bahrain test in 4 weeks time.
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