On Saturday, MotorLAT had the chance to talk with McLaren’s boss Zak Brown during a media meeting with selected media. In this occasion, McLaren’s boss talked about regulations, innovations and expectations. The first question was on affiliated team had to sign some rules against their own will but they said they felt no pressure. Brown’s answer was diplomatic but honest.
“Of course they said that, what could they say?- he said, refusing to name one team.- One example I could give you is the reduction of the budget cap and many team voted against it. Teams vote against another team interest, it happens frequently.”
The next question was about how longer terms expectations were between affiliations between top teams and customer teams. “Looking back at the story of F1 these affiliations have always existed. They are an extra help to smaller teams, because the strongest teams provide them some technologies and devices that they could not afford, like the wind tunnels, for example.”
What is McLaren’s focusing on for its self-interests? “I always try to do what’s best for McLaren, in my four years here, some were very frustrating but now we can focus on those aeras that we want to put forward. F1 is in great shape at this time so I’m not being critical. We have all many different sectors to work on, for example the commercial side. When we sit down around the table, we discuss some technical topics but commercial one too, we take care of social media strategy as well.”
Then we went back to affiliations, asking what was changing in F1 since last year.
“Aston Martin is a great example of new teams’ affiliations, it brought them on a new level – McLaren’s boss pointed out.
And what does Brown thinks of secret voting? “The most recent votes demonstrated who supported who, it was a frustrating situation but we have to see who look at the room and notice who votes what, with secret votes probably one team would not have voted in a certain way”- he said.
You staying for dinner too, Seb? 🤔 https://t.co/kMux1p77Cl— McLaren (@McLarenF1) April 30, 2021
We couldn’t avoid asking him about Sprint races and inverted grids.
“F1 is going forward, it has a lot of new ideas coming from the fans, it’s not like there are only a few people sitting in a room, there is a consumers’ research. The reverse grid comes from a lot of fans’ approvations. There is a difference between long- term fans who are against, newer fans who are in favour. I think it’s a success, it will be intriguing.”
I asked him about his statements in favour of a link between F1 and American racing and what benefits could it bring to the Circus.
“I would like to see three U.S. Grands Prix coming in the calendar … Miami is going to be awesome!– he said – I would like to see coming back younger drivers trying out in tests. It would be too difficult now taking an American driver and bring him to F1 now: he would need too much time to adapt to new technologies and tracks but I would like to see some Indycar drivers coming to F1, younger drivers as well and fans would adore it too. We need to open a new marketplace and create new opportunities.”
What would he change in F1?
“I would like if teams could have a stronger voice in making decisions. F1 is doing a great work, it’s doing what’s best for teams and fans but there are some things I would like to improve… for example, we lost two tokens, this year. One was for a new driver and the other was for a new P.U. That was a huge risk, as we will not be available to use them in development. A higher turnover in drivers among the team would be more interesting and allow young drivers to come, but it’s a big risk for teams”.
New things are F1’s fuel, there is no doubt about that but I asked if is there something from the past that Zak Brown would love to see coming back to F1, as we have seen that old track had incredible races.
“I would love to have more freedom to develop different cars. Today, to act accordingly to the rules, every single-seater looks alike to one another. In the past you could appreciate very different details between the cars. That’s one point I would like to see coming back, a greater freedom to experiment”.