‘Great year’ for McLaren, says team boss Brown

ABU DHABI (AFP) – McLaren Executive Director Zak Brown hailed his team on Monday for snatching third place in the constructors’ championship and forecast that their 2021 drivers’ line-up will be the most exciting in Formula One.

A jubilant Brown said McLaren had “a great year” after Lando Norris and his Ferrari-bound teammate Carlos Sainz finished fifth and sixth in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

That success enabled the former champions to secure an estimated extra EUR5.5 million in prize money after climbing from fourth on a day when the team also announced a major investment – reported to be around EUR200 million – from American consortium MSP Sports Capital.

“It was a good day,” beamed Brown. “Actually, it has been a great year after a difficult period in the public spotlight – a truly team effort by everyone.”

Brown forecast that the arrival of Daniel Ricciardo from Renault to race alongside Norris would give McLaren “the most exciting line-up in F1 next year” on and off track.

“Lando has come off a great first year and is now really coming of age and Daniel is a seven-time winner.”

McLaren’s driver Lando Norris drives during the second practice session of the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix. PHOTO: AFP

McLaren, once a powerhouse team and always fighting for the championship during the heyday of drivers like Niki Lauda, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna, have not won the drivers’ championship since Lewis Hamilton’s first in 2008.

And they have not won a race since 2012 when Hamilton and Jenson Button won seven between them.

In 881 races since 1966, they have won 181 and Brown hopes their revival will soon see them challenging again at the top.

“It was awesome,” he said of Sunday’s race. “But it was a bit stressful on pit wall.

“It might have looked like a boring race for Lando and Carlos, but it was very exciting and so all credit to everyone on the team. We really got it together this year.”

“It was awesome. It was a bit stressful on pit wall. It might have looked like a boring race for Lando and Carlos, but it was exciting on pit wall.”