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McLaren predict year they will be fighting for championship

It has been a substantial amount of time since McLaren were last in an F1 championship battle, but CEO Zak Brown is confident that the team will return to this position in the not-too-distant future.

Piastri Baku
To news overview © XPBimages

McLaren CEO Zak Brown believes there is no reason why the squad cannot fight for the Formula 1 World Championship in 2026.

Much time has passed since the Woking-based team were last in an F1 title battle, with their most recent Constructors' Championship victory happening in 1998.

Their last win came via Daniel Ricciardo's P1 at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, which marked their first victory since 2012.

The team have faced some difficult times in the past decade, but Brown feels that McLaren are putting the right components in place for a return to success.

McLaren putting team in place

"If I look at the things that we need to get back to the front, you need two great drivers – I think we have those," Brown told the F1 Nation podcast.

"You need your technology, infrastructure, being state of the art and on par with the competition – we'll have that done by the end of the year.

"We've talked a lot about the wind tunnel and simulator and manufacturing unit; these things are all very close to being done. Some of them are done, so we'll have the technology.

"Then it's people, and we have some exciting announcements coming up soon. We have a great team, but we need some additional thinking and some fresh ideas. Some of those announcements we've made, [and there are] more to come.

"Those people will all be joining us over the next nine months so, by the end of the year, we'll have our team in place, we'll have our infrastructure in place, we'll have our drivers in place.

"But we're already working on the 2024 car now, so we won't be at our full fighting capacity for the start of the '24 development because that's happening now."

Return to winning?

With those factors in place, Brown is confident that the team are on track to fight for race wins – and eventually championships – in the next few years.

"I think our goal next year is to get back to a 2021-type season – a handful of podiums, a pole [position], a win, mixing it up," he explained.

"And then [in] 2025, we will have had everything that we need, and for the sufficient time, so I'd like to think we're going to be winning races in '25.

"And then once you're winning races, we've got the new era [of regulations] starting in 2026. On paper, there's no reason why we shouldn't be fighting for the championship."

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RESULTS 2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Qualifying