McLaren resurgence vital for Norris, admits Brown

McLaren boss, Zak Brown admits that the team’s recent form was vital in keeping Lando Norris on board.

As early as the launch the Woking outfit was admitting that it had got it wrong, and soon talk turned not just to upgrades but the possibility of a B-car.

The upgrades finally arrived in time for the Austrian Grand Prix and from the outset proved their worth. From the opening eight races the team had scored just 14 points, however, since then Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri have added 86 more to the tally, with the Briton scoring successive podium finishes in Britain and Hungary, while his Australian teammate finished second in the Sprint at Spa.

At a time rivals have been eyeing Norris (and Piastri), Brown admits that the post-Austria resurgence was vital, particularly for the British driver.

“I think it’s been massively important for all of us. It shows we can do it,” he tells ESPN. “That being said, we haven’t won one with (Norris) yet.

“He loves McLaren,” he continues, “it’s been his family, so there’s no doubt in my mind his number one choice is to win a world championship with McLaren. Therefore, I think the best thing we do to retain him is to demonstrate to him we’re a team capable of doing that.

“It’s not a case of wooing him or not wooing him,” the American insists, “it’s about giving him a car where he can look himself in the mirror and say ‘I think I can win a world championship with this team’.”

In addition to sorting out the car, Brown has overseen the restructuring of the management, with Andrea Stella replacing (Audi bound) Andreas Seidl, and the recruitment of David Sanchez from Ferrari and Rob Marshall from Red Bull following James Key’s departure.

Then there’s the much-anticipated new windtunnel.

“We’re in it now,” says Brown. “Coming out of the summer break, we’re in it. We now have everything in place and just need some more time to mature. The windtunnel’s here, the simulator’s here, the manufacturing unit is open.

“We’ve got our team in place. It’s stable. We have additional talent coming to be additive to what we currently have. We have all the financial resources we need.

“It’s just going to take a little bit of time,” he warns, “so as long as we can show this progress… ’26 is going to be a huge reset for this sport and there’s not going to be any excuses for us. We have everything we need from resources, people, two great drivers, all the technology, infrastructure.

“As long as (Norris) continues to see our pace and development then I think he’ll have all the confidence in the world that this team’s won 20 world championships and have everything they need, look at the momentum.

“You look down the grid, there’s as many unknowns about ’26. Red Bull with a new engine, how’s that going to be? They’ve never done that before. There’s all sorts of variables going on there and I think our story is as good as anyone’s.”

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