Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

McLaren needs better reliability in testing – Brown

2019 F1 season

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McLaren has changed its approach to the off-season to reduce the reliability problems it experienced at the start of last year.

Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing, said the teams are “doing things differently to be more prepared” than they were 12 months ago, “not just with performance but we had a lot of reliability issues going into Barcelona testing last year.”

McLaren covered the lowest pre-season testing mileage of any team last year. They logged 2,127 kilometres with the MCL33, less than half of that managed by Ferrari or Mercedes.

“We have taken some measures to get ahead of that,” said Brown. “We will continue to develop, as all Formula 1 teams do, on a weekly basis.”

Last year’s reliability problems slowed the development of the MCL33, Brown admitted.

“One of the reasons – not the only reason, but one of the reasons – why we were slower to bring performance is we had reliability issues. So you roll off the truck in Barcelona and instead of being able to get straight down to performance you’re immediately tackling wheel nut issues, heating issues and you then stop focussing on performance, start focusing on reliability.

“I think the team did a good job to give us reliability coming out of Spain testing to have both cars finish in the points in Australia. It isn’t what it looked like [being] in Spain. So I think we’re in a better place performance-wise and reliability coming into winter testing.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 31 comments on “McLaren needs better reliability in testing – Brown”

    1. So much word to say ‘Renault should have better reliability’.

    2. You got that right.

    3. Last year it wasn’t Renault at fault, it was McLaren that came to Spain very unprepared. They had lots of small issues that cost them valuable track time, and that was almost all on their side not Renault

    4. i strongly disagree
      a fast car with horrendous reliability would definately be an improvment at this point.

      could You please bring Ron back?
      Zac is just (even more) unbearable

      1. Fully agree (with your disagreement), @mrboerns.
        Does Zac really believe that if he gets on his soapbox in the factory and implores the team to bring a more reliable car to Barcelona that this will create a better car/season?

        Zac was right last year when he identified the problems at McLaren as management and corporate structure related. He might have bought a few new deckchairs but as a captain he’s still steering the ship and convinced he will now crush the iceberg.

        PS credit where credit is due: he got Coca Cola to sponsor the wing mirrors and their crayon department has been very busy.

        1. @mrboerns @coldfly, I strongly disagree with you both. Zak is absolutely right in focusing on securing reliability so testing will go smoothly. A week of aerodynamic CFD and wind tunnel development has its value, but proper on-track evaluation of the whole car (and trackside team!) thrumps that by a mile. It is at pre-season testing that teams build on their understanding of the car, get a ton of data from the tires to draw from throughout the season, and get an early indication of the strenghts and weaknesses of the car and thus where to put their resources to get the most out of them. Pre-season testing can be worth months of factory-development. Mercedes and Ferrari realized that many years ago. Red Bull too, after learning the hard way.

          You guys post seem more about your disliking of Zak then anything else..

          1. @me4me, I don’t disagree with the importance of uninterrupted pre-season testing.
            My point is that McLaren has bigger problems and that.
            Zak is a lot in the news blaming things left and right. But he is the guy to make a difference, and he hasn’t don’t that so far.
            I don’t know Zak and don’t know if I would like or dislike him. But I am utterly underwhelmed by his CEO skills and results at McLaren.

            1. @coldfly, aah good. Yeah I can agree with that. Feels like he is somehow in the wrong position at Mclaren. He should stick to the marketing stuff. But I must say I feel mostly indifferent regarding Mclaren. They have a long road ahead of them to get back to what they were. Can’t be bothered much at this point just yet.

            2. Ankur Solanky
              27th January 2019, 4:36

              Zak has been doing a great job. He brought in Andreas Seidl, James Key, and Pat Fry to the team.

      2. @mrboerns

        Bringing Ron back isn’t going to solve anything. In fact a lot of the problems Mclaren have today could be traced back to decisions he had made over the last decade or so. Ron was the guy who built Mclaren up to what they are as a brand and institution, but he should have just walked away after 2008.

        As much as we criticize Zak for his sales talk, I think he’s doing well at Mclaren. He’s brief is to restructure the company, and that’s what he’s doing. It will be painful to start a with, but if they persevere, it will come good.

        1. Ankur Solanky
          27th January 2019, 4:24

          You hit it right on the nail. Many of the people who are wrongly criticizing Zak don’t realize that Ron’s decisions brought them to where they were last year. Adrian Newey wrote in his book that matrix system implemented by Ron would implode eventually. That was one of the reasons why Newey left. Zak made McLaren move back to a more traditional and linear structure. I’m hopeful that McLaren will finish 4th or 5th in the constructors.

    5. McLaren needs a better everything

      1. Freddos OUT, Snickers IN

    6. McLaren talk and act a lot like they’re still a front running team when they’re middle to lower midfield, really. I feel that they keep looking for this ‘one missing piece’ of the puzzle to make everything snap together but aren’t paying attention that the way they used to work is no longer working.

      1. Ankur Solanky
        27th January 2019, 4:29

        No, McLaren has fully realized that what they have been doing wasn’t working. That’s why they went under major restructuring and moved to a simpler team structure.

    7. Did all the problems not start with Ron bringing in Honda way to early?

      1. Nah, problems started when hamilton left, 2013 car was a disaster and there wasn’t honda yet.

      2. Peter, I think that many would suggest that pushing Honda to enter the sport prematurely was more a symptom of the dysfunction that was occurring at McLaren at the time, rather than the cause. It might not have helped the situation, but there were signs of problems within the team before that.

    8. For sure, at this point we’ll just have to see it to believe it, but at least we can say that Mac is still amongst the more resourced teams, so on paper they should be able to up their game. I realize having resources is no guarantee (see Toyota and their tenure in F1, or Mac in recent years) but point being they can’t use that as an excuse. It would be great if they could move up a notch this season. And if Renault does too.

    9. Zak’s statements to the media are always one word too long. Or three.

      1. It’s a multidimensional matrix, utilising our core strengths and identifying weaknesses within the structure allows us to penetrate those values and allows a platform on which to build, this in turn brings a collective harness in which the collective harnesses’ the collective data in a productive and analytical sense and allows further coloration to subsequent data, and thus the brand.

        1. Synergy. You left out synergy. @bernasaurus

          1. Synergy! I always forget that one, thank you @phylyp this exemplifies the history of Bruce and our partners as a shared progression.

    10. Does no one want to appreciate that marshal for his glorious beard? :-)

      1. I would if it were not for the health & safety concerns given the unstrapped helmet ;)

        1. @coldfly – the helmet would stay in place in sheer awe at the awesomeness of that beard. ;)

          1. Or maybe the strap has velcro and just sticks to the beard?

    11. So they only now realized reliability and mileage would be a good idea for pre-season testing?

      Likely they will even overdo it now, sacrificing performance.

      1. See 2005 vs 2006, speed without reliability, then reliability without speed!

    Comments are closed.