McLaren target fourth in 2023 after “disappointing” fifth · RaceFans

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown says the team’s fall to fifth place in the constructors’ championship in 2022 was a “disappointing” result.

Alpine prevailed in a close fight over fourth place between the two teams. Although McLaren’s Lando Norris out-scored both Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso, Daniel Ricciardo failed to beat either Alpine driver and ended the season well short of his team mate’s tally.

McLaren confirmed halfway through the year Ricciardo would not see out the final year of his contract in 2023. Team principal Andreas Seidl then left the team at the end of the season to join Sauber ahead of their transition into Audi.

Brown admitted he was dissatisfied with McLaren’s outcome for the season. “[It was a] tough season, for sure,” he told Speedcafe. “Fifth is disappointing coming off of fourth and, prior to that, a third.

“We had our challenges. We definitely had some good weekends – a nice podium by Lando. Then of course, we really struggled to come to grips with Daniel to maximise his performance. So as you guys are well aware that was difficult through, really, the entire season in the media that was around that.”

McLaren lured Oscar Piastri away from Alpine, where he was a reserve driver, to replace Ricciardo next year.

“We’re super-excited to have landed another Aussie in Oscar – and that wasn’t without a little bit of arm wrestling and drama,” Brown continued. “So yeah, a tough year.”

Brown says the team will target fourth in the constructors’ championship again in 2023. They also aim to reduce their performance deficit to the front-running cars.

“We have two data points that we pay most attention to: One is how close are we to the the team that’s winning and, if that team is not Mercedes, our other data point – given what a great team Mercedes is and we share the same engine – is how close are we to Mercedes,” Brown explained.

“So those are our two primary data points from a competitive standpoint and we want to be closer to them next year than we were this year. Beyond that, it’s hard to set a very specific number to that. Of course, we’d like to get back up to at least fourth in the championship. But I think we’re going to need a little bit more of our technology in place to really be able to break into the top three.”

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