Brown: We believe in our chances from 2022 and beyond

McLaren CEO Zak Brown has warned that his team and their fans will have to wait until 2022 to get a proper shot at catching top teams Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

The Woking-based team was the most improved in 2019, beating Renault to fourth in the constructors’ world championship.

Brown says the team will have the same budget in 2020 with “an aggressive approach” while the top teams will be able to run joint development programs next year for the 2020 and 2021 cars outside of the budget cap, others like McLaren and Renault are likely to focus primarily on 2021.

Then, from 2021 with the new rules in place, the top teams will be limited to just $175-million budgets when preparing for 2022.

“The top teams will have to cut back their annual budgets and staff, which will be difficult for them,” Brown told Auto Motor und Sport. “We believe in our chances from 2022 and beyond.”

“We’ve built momentum in the factory and on the race track with hard work and good decisions. Now our biggest opponent is the time. We have to grow and work together for a long time.

“Then we will automatically get better but we will also have bad days and bad weekends. That’s normal in this process,” added Brown.

As for the team’s young and increasingly popular driver line-up of Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris, their boss said, “We are convinced that both have the potential to become world champions. We want to achieve that with them.”

Brown became McLaren chief in 2017, inheriting an organisation in disarray and their F1 team – powered by Honda – in freefall to the bottom of the grid.

Controversially ditching Honda, McLaren became a Renault customer for 2019 with Brown handing the F1 reigns to former Porsche LMP boss Andreas Seidl.

Under the German’s watch, politics went out the door as the team focused on rebuilding under Seidl. Fast forward a year and Best of the Rest, only bettered by the Big Three teams.

Although still very much work-in-progress, it was mission accomplished for McLaren in 2019 and a renaissance of sorts for the team, which is second only to Ferrari in terms of success at the highest level. (Additional Reporting by GP247)