McLaren are on the brink of becoming a “big team” again in F1, right as Daniel Ricciardo joins the outfit, chief executive Zak Brown says.
McLaren finished third in the constructors’ championship this season, trailing only Mercedes and Red Bull, though they did not win a race.
Australian driver Ricciardo, a seven-time grand prix winner, has left Renault to partner Lando Norris. McLaren are also flush with cash after US group MSP Sports Capital struck a deal to own 33 per cent of the team by the end of 2022, worth $327 million.
On top of that, F1 teams will run at a budget cap of $US145 million ($192m) next season, with McLaren a driving force behind the initiative.
“We’ll run at the cost cap now, so I think we’ll be back being one of the ‘big’ teams,” Brown told Sky Sports F1.
“So it’s great. We’re turning on our wind tunnel project, all of our CapEx [capital expenditure]. We have some catching up so do so it’s going to take some time, but I like the journey we’re on.”
Brown said that McLaren were clearly on an upwards trajectory. The team have not won a grand prix since 2012 but Brown feels that they are now equipped for better times.
“I think we do have everything that we need,” he said.
“It’ll take time. Andreas Seidl has done an unbelievable job leading the Formula 1 team. We’ve got two great drivers.
“We’ve got the Mercedes power plant. We’ve got fantastic men and women at the racetrack and back at the factory all building towards this race car to make it go as fast as possible.
“So, I think we need some time for it all to come together, but I don’t think there are any pieces to the puzzle missing now. We’ve just got to put the puzzle together.”
Ricciardo signed with McLaren hoping for greater competitiveness than he found with Renault. A pair of third placings this season were the only times he reached the podium with the French factory team, though his second campaign was far better than his first.
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