McLaren not fast enough for young driver "risk"

Experience is a priority for McLaren’s 2019 Formula 1 driver line-up because it would need a better car to “take a risk with two younger drivers”, according to CEO Zak Brown.

McLaren not fast enough for young driver "risk"

Fernando Alonso is yet to confirm whether he wants to stay in F1 beyond 2018 and McLaren is deciding whether to continue with Stoffel Vandoorne, who has struggled to realise the potential shown in his junior single-seater career.

McLaren has Formula 2 title contender and reserve driver Lando Norris waiting in the wings, but has been linked with multiple drivers including Kimi Raikkonen and Carlos Sainz in F1’s summer silly season.

Asked if McLaren was prioritising A-list drivers or those it fell were more realistic, Brown, speaking in Hungary prior to F1’s summer break, said he was looking at “all of the above”.

“It's difficult to get set in any one particular direction because so many pieces move,” he said. 

“In situations like this you need to keep every door and every avenue open and wait for some dominoes to fall. Sometimes it's in your control, sometimes it's not. 

“We know our situation with Stoffel. We’re seeing what other opportunities may or may not be available, seeing what ultimately Fernando wants to do. 

“It's also about the package – experience and youth – especially in the situation we're in.

“Because we're rebuilding, to have two young drivers in our car wouldn't be a great place to be. 

“If we had a better racecar then you might take a risk with two younger drivers because you've given them good racecars.”

Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33, leads Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL33

Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33, leads Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL33

Photo by: Andrew Hone / LAT Images

While Alonso’s future is in his hands, Vandoorne is actively fighting to keep his seat. 

Brown said McLaren still backs Vandoorne and said it has given him “a ton of support”, pointing to the chassis change prior to the Hungarian GP weekend after an apparent downforce abnormality compared with Alonso’s car.

“The reality is we have two open seats, and it's our job to get the best driver situation possible and that requires talking to other drivers up and down pitlane,” said Brown. 

“Every racing driver knows that they need to perform at the highest level because teams are always looking for the best solution at that moment. 

“We're very much behind Stoffel. It's one of the main reasons why Gil joined us, to help with the driver situation. 

“I feel very comfortable with giving him all the support we possibly can while we're in the Formula 1 silly season and of course having a look around at what the various opportunities are.”

Brown had indicated that Force India’s situation would be a key catalyst in the driver market. 

Force India has now been saved by a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll, which will have a knock-on effect on the driver market because his son Lance is expected to move from Williams and deny either Esteban Ocon or Sergio Perez a race seat. 

shares
comments
Brawn is wrong over potential F1 electric move, says Agag

Previous article

Brawn is wrong over potential F1 electric move, says Agag

Next article

Stroll: 2018 struggles part of F1 "love-hate relationship"

Stroll: 2018 struggles part of F1 "love-hate relationship"
Load comments
How Verstappen has become F1 champion material Prime

How Verstappen has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle Prime

Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be set to be another close contest.

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Prime

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Prime

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner Prime

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner

Stepping up to F1 in 1962, Jo Siffert shone with Rob Walker Racing Team and BRM before his career was abruptly ended in a fatal crash at Brands Hatch in 1971. Kevin Turner looks back at the life of Switzerland's first F1 winner on the 50th anniversary of his death

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat Prime

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat

OPINION: Max Verstappen is back in the lead of the 2021 Formula 1 drivers’ championship, with the season’s final flyaway events set to get underway in the USA this weekend. But a defensive stance he’s recently adopted could have a lasting impact for the Red Bull driver when it comes to his chances of defeating Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Prime

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

Formula 1
Oct 20, 2021
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Prime

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Tim Wright.

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021