“They are pretty ferocious”- McLaren predicts progress with an intimidating pair of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo for 2021.
McLaren in 2020 showed significant development in their F1 constructors’ standings compared to the last few years, and McLaren boss Zak Brown is also optimistic about 2021.
Courtesy to the new lineup of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, who, according to Brown, a ferocious lineup and would be a great asset to them.
“[They are] great personalities outside of the race car and great to be around,” said the Californian of his driver pairing during an interview with Sky Sports.
“But once they put the helmet on, they are pretty ferocious, so I think we’ll have some pretty close racing between our two drivers. Hopefully, the two of them will push each other forward, and we’ll try to tackle some of the teams in front of us.”
Closing the gap would be the priority.
Brown was then quizzed about what kind of fate he would select for his team, either be the third-best team on the circuit again or be within a tenth-and-a-half of a second to Mercedes or Red Bull in every qualification session.
“I’d take the tenth-and-a-half because we’re a lot further off than that,” said the 49-year-old American. “We closed the gap last year, and that’s our goal for this year.
“Last year was so close, and I expect it to be even closer. We went into the last race and could have been third, fourth or fifth, and that really wouldn’t have been a reflection on how we had closed the gap. The gap is still huge, but I’ll take closing the gap as a priority No 1.”
Despite the new progress made this year, including the Mercedes power unit’s arrival, Brown feels that McLaren is at its peak since he joined the outfit in 2018.
“We feel very prepared,” he said. “Lots of challenges ahead of us – needing to develop a car during COVID is a first for all of the Grand Prix teams.
“Then, of course, we have our power unit change, so we have probably the most significant change, and then couple that with limited testing, we certainly have our hands full.
“But I feel like the men and women at McLaren have done an outstanding job. We were first to launch, so I think we’re prepared – let’s see how fast it is once we get going.”