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McLaren

Brown: McLaren have more targeted approach to young talent than Red Bull

Red Bull’s junior driver programme might have delivered the likes of Max Verstappen but McLaren CEO Zak Brown thinks there are issues with their approach.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown believes the British team have a more targeted approach than Red Bull when it comes to developing younger drivers, meaning there is less chance of talent being wasted.

Red Bull have long been known for their young driver programme, which has allowed the likes of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo to succeed in Formula 1. But the programme has also seen many drivers come and go, and Brown thinks that McLaren’s different approach is more effective in ensuring drivers are given greater opportunities.

"While it’s great that Red Bull has found Max, they have gone through a lot of talent to get there and a lot of expense," Brown is quoted by GPFans. "I think we’re better off being very targeted.

"At this point, we are paying attention to what is happening in the junior formulae. We don’t have anyone really that is on a junior programme at this point because, again, I don’t think we would really have a home for them.

"We have a different philosophy. I think you do run into the problem, that the others have, where they have too many drivers and then they start to try to place them with other teams or they don’t have a seat available when their driver is ready."

McLaren showed continued improvement during the 2020 season, having finished third in the constructors’ championship, and Brown thinks this will heighten the appeal of the team for drivers. However, the fact that their 2021 line-up consists of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo means it is unlikely that a younger driver will be given an opportunity with the British outfit any time soon.

"I think McLaren, especially with our recent progress, will always be a team that most drivers have a high desire to drive for, especially as we continue to progress," Brown explained.

"Lando is very young, we’re just getting started with Daniel, so to have a driver knocking down our door in a year or two, we’re not going to have room for them. So I think we are more strategic, like we were with Lando. We found him early, like we did with Stoffel [Vandoorne]. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out. It worked with Lewis [Hamilton].

"We just handpick a few when you kind of see they might mature at a time when you might have a seat available."

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