McLaren have appeared to turn a corner this season, or at least, CEO Zak Brown certainly thinks so. Their latest upgrades seem to be successful given Lando Norris’ season best P5 finish (P4 after penalties applied) at the Austrian GP, surprising even himself. Brown now believes that their main rivals this season, Alpine, are “definitely beatable” thanks to these upgrades.
While they are beatable, Brown acknowledges that it will be tough.
“Up to this point, they’ve got a fast racing car and two drivers that have the ability to run at the front, and I am sure they’ve got upgrades coming,” said Brown.
“We’ll have Oscar’s car [at Silverstone] where Lando’s car was [in Austria], Lando will have some further upgrades that Oscar will have one race later and then we do have, as other teams do, upgrades throughout the year – and one more significant upgrade coming later in the year.
“We’re in the race with Alpine now and I think we can’t make any mistakes.
“We’re going to have to have a good reliable car, get our pit stops right, our starts right, and not have any unlucky incidents, but I think the fight with Alpine will go on [throughout] the year.”
Lando Norris admitted that the team had “taken a good step forward” but that there’s still a long way to go as the car is still “almost crashing at every corner” thanks to its unpredictability.
“You just go to the limit of what the car can do, and the next level,” said Norris.
“The car just goes quick around every corner, but the way you have to drive it isn’t exactly the same, which is kind of our next issue to tackle. Things that we’ve been complaining about all year are still the same, we’re just at a higher level [of pace].”
It isn’t a simple fix, as Ferrari can tell you, because “it’s not just about downforce, it’s about the handling and how you drive the car.”
Once these issues have been solved, McLaren “can definitely fight some of the quick cars ahead of us.”
Alpine driver, Pierre Gasly, acknowledged that McLaren’s pace is a worrying sign for the French team, but feels that their anticipated upgrade package should hopefully widen the gap.
“McLaren was extremely fast this weekend, which is not really a good sign for us,” said Gasly, “but at the same time it should motivate us. It shows that it’s possible to make big gains. It’s all in our hands and I know we’ve got upgrades planned on the next few races, so [I’m] looking forward to seeing what it brings.”