Brown: I didn't like our pace of development

Brown: I didn’t like our pace of development

Brown: I didn't like our pace of development

Zak Brown revealed the reason behind the raft of changes within the McLaren technical department that saw tech boss James Key leave the team, was the slow pace of development.

The once great Formula 1 team endures another challenging season in 2023, following 2022 where they finished fifth in the Constructors’ Standings beaten by Alpine to fourth. It seems their new car, the MCL60 named as such to celebrate 60 years of McLaren will not be up to the task, nor will it be fit tribute to the occasion it was named after.

McLaren had to wait until the third race of the season in Australia to score points, and even then, they lucked out after a race with multiple Red Flags and restarts as their drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri kept out of trouble to finish sixth and eighth respectively.

Ahead of the 2023 Australian Grand Prix, McLaren announced their Technical Director James Key would be leaving the team and was replaced by a technical structure that saw an internal reshuffle as well as former Ferrari engineer David Sanchez return to Woking.

Asked about the recent technical upheaval within McLaren and the reason behind it; Zak Brown said: “Well, I didn’t like our pace of development, if you like, towards the second half of last year. I didn’t feel like we were moving forward.

Andrea Stella tasked with the restructure after Andreas Seidl left

“You know, you look at Aston [Martin], they’ve done a fantastic job, started at the beginning of the year, not where they finished at the end of the year and clearly they’ve just continued on in that development path. And I felt like we were not developing at the pace that we need to, so when we had our team principal change, I asked Andrea to take a look at why and he restructured the department,” he explained.

“And that was a work in progress over the winter,” Brown revealed. “We knew, as we said at the launch, that we weren’t where we’d want to be at the start of the year. Obviously Saudi was quite disappointing, because that really wasn’t representative of any sort of pace issue, having one car lose its front wing and take out the other, especially when they weren’t even racing each other, is a bit of bad luck.

“And so our season starts here in Australia and I’ve got all the confidence in Andrea, the structure, the people we have, the people that we have coming, that will now be able to continue forward on our journey,” the American maintained.

Asked when he expected the changes to bear fruit; Brown said: “I think, as I say, in the factory things start to feel good and then eventually they look good. And quite the opposite, right at the end of last year things didn’t feel good, and we were kind of seeing, at the start of this year, those results, if you like.

“So we’ve got some good upgrade packages coming, but so does every other team on the grid, but I would anticipate that will definitely finish the season much stronger than we’ve started,” Brown concluded.