McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown insists the upcoming 2019 season is not a make or break year for his Formula 1 outfit. 

The British squad heads into 2019 aiming to improve in its continued recovery bid back up F1’s pecking order, following years of disappointment due to its disastrous partnership with Honda and then a poor car design last year. 

After making the switch from Honda to Renault, McLaren managed to seal sixth place in the 2018 constructors’ championship despite having one of the slowest cars for much of the season, though that did not prevent two-time champion Fernando Alonso from leaving the team. 

McLaren MCL34 close up

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For 2019, McLaren will field its most inexperienced driver line-up in recent years with Carlos Sainz being joined by the highly-rated rookie Lando Norris

“We’re in a rebuild process and it’s going to be a journey,” Brown said on Thursday as McLaren unveiled its 2019 F1 car at its Woking factory. 

“I don’t think it’s a ‘now or never’ [year] because the racing team is going to be around for a long time. It’s obviously a very important year and we showed a big step forward when we made the change last year.

“But I think we were probably a bit over-excited about how quickly we would return to the front and we got that wrong.

“We looked in the mirror to understand where we went wrong, made a lot of changes both structurally and operationally, so this is a very important year to show progress.” 

Sainz, who joins from Renault, said setting goals for the season ahead before turning a wheel at testing would be a “big mistake”, while McLaren sporting director Gil de Ferran insisted the team is remaining humble in its approach. 

“I like to think of the humility personally because that is how I feel and I think that feeling is shared by many in our team,” de Ferran said when asked to describe McLaren’s current mindset. 

“We set a bit of a schedule of what we needed to accomplish and by when. That schedule goes forward a few years into the future as planning things well will help us on an ongoing basis. 

“I think the key point is we’ve tried to come together as a team, collaborate better, and meet every challenge that we have in the programme. 

“There is certainly a lot of challenges and we are certainly excited to see the car hit the track and there is that feeling of anticipating but I think the key thing is to stay humble and focus on the job at hand by meeting every challenge in a collaborative manner, and things will take care of themselves.”

 

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