McLaren boss Zak Brown expects the team to continue to make progress this season, adding they have “done a very good job” relative to the targets they thought were “realistically attainable”.
McLaren improved to finish sixth in the Constructors' Championship last year, having slipped to ninth the season before in their first year back with Honda. Indeed in total the squad managed to score almost three times the amount of points – 76 points in 2016 versus 27 in 2015 - and Brown is confident that trend will continue under the new 2017 regulations with rookie Stoffel Vandoorne slotting in alongside Fernando Alonso.
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“I'm in constant touch with both Jonathan [Neale] and Eric [Boullier], and our senior engineers too, and I think our 2017 chassis will be a decent one,” Brown said in an interview the official Formula One site.
. “I'm not going to make any precise predictions - I'm not that dumb - but all the indications are that, relative to the targets we thought were realistically attainable under the new regs, our guys have done a very good job.
“Also, let's not forget, Honda is a fantastic power-unit partner. No company in the world manufactures more engines than Honda does - absolutely none - and the Honda engineers have a tonne of knowledge about turbocharging.”
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Despite that optimism, however, Brown knows McLaren is unlikely to trouble the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull.
“We all know that 2015 and 2016 were learning years, and we won't be at the front of the grid in 2017 either. But we're working incredibly hard, together, as one team, and the progress is clear to see,” he underlined.
“We finished a lowly ninth in the 2015 constructors' world championship, and we improved that to sixth in 2016. We know we'll win together in the end - we don't know when so don't ask me to make that prediction - but as I say we're making progress and that's the important thing.”
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