McLaren set for Indy engine announcement before Christmas, says Brown
This Friday in Abu Dhabi kicked off with Zak Brown talking McLaren’s future, as it laid the foundation to recover from its daunting recent campaigns, and giving a few clues on their IndyCar project.
Zak Brown assessed McLaren’s performance throughout the year, being brutally honest about their poor single-seater. “Not great, obviously it’s very disappointing. We have built a very poor racecar, that has not responded much up until the US GP.”
“Obviously the development in the second part of the year was about learning for 2019.”
Going to the root of the problem, Zak Brown detects that it is the result of various problems piling up. “What got us here started 5 years ago. I would say we had a lack of consistent leadership and focus because of all the various activities going on, from the boardroom and buyouts, team principals in and team principals out. I am not pointing fingers at anybody but that constant revolving created the issue.”
“We have had over 100 people in the last 20 years, we did not forget how to win, we just didn’t have the right structure”
Zak Brown assures the Woking-based team is on its way to recovery, labelling the last few years as “a low spot in this era”.
The American CEO had previously opened up about keeping Fernando Alonso on speed dial and today he reiterated that the two-time champion will still be involved with McLaren. “We will have a hard time keeping Fernando away from the track. You will see him around, as he’s been helping both our two drivers very well.”
Brown appears rather excited about next year’s challenge and insists he is pleased with Renault’s partnership so far “I am happy wit Renault, we have a good relationship. Yesterday I got their report on how the 2019 power unit is coming along, which is very encouraging. This year they have given us a reliable engine”.
As for the technical side, the CEO gave an update on James Key. “He will be with us next year, at some point. He has had no influence or communication as it relates to the 2019 car, but it’s better to have him at this point rather than never.”
Brown is aware that success does not happen overnight and puts his trusts into Pat Fry, Andrea Stella and the rest of the engineers.
As for the IndyCar project, Brown mentioned the newly-appointed president for the overseas campaign Bob Fernley. With speculations mounting up concerning McLaren’s technical ally for the Indy 500, Brown roughly sets a date for the next announcement. “We will have an engine announcement this side of Christmas.” he said.
“We are 100% focused on IndyCar with Bob, so he is leading the project full-time, making sure nothing is a distraction to F1.”
He is going to be recruiting extra personnel, outside of F1 so that the two crews can co-exist and work in parallel.”
“He is in Indianapolis next week building resources to start the process, we already have some people recruited.” The American obviously means than design is not going to be included in the project, as they will lean on a sisterhood alliance with an already existent team.