Zak Brown, McLaren CEO, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2022

McLaren entering top level sportscar racing ‘a matter of when not if’ – Brown

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In the round-up: McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown days that McLaren getting involved in top level sportscar competition like IMSA and is a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’.

In brief

McLaren entering top level sportscar racing ‘a matter of when not if’ – Brown

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown days that McLaren getting involved in top level sportscar competition like IMSA is a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’.

The introduction of hypercars and LMDh classes into endurance sportscar racing in the World Endurance Championship and the IMSA series has seen a throng of manufacturers join with their own programmes – including Ferrari, Peugeot, BMW and Lamborghini among others.

Speaking on an episode of the Marshall Pruett podcast, Brown admitted McLaren’s participation in top level sportscar racing series like IMSA was something he felt the organisation should pursue.

“I really would like to get McLaren into top level sportscar racing,” Brown said. “I think we need to be there. I think it fits with our brand.

“I need to make sure that when – which is what I like to say versus ‘if’ we get involved – we need to be able to do it right and have everything else that we’re doing in a really good spot.

“I think it’s a few years away. We need to make a decision soon because we now know what we need to know in order to make a decision. It’s really dependent upon what else is going on in McLaren’s world as to the best time to enter.”

Stuck unimpressed Verstappen refused order

Max Verstappen’s refusal to follow an order from his Red Bull team in the Brazilian Grand Prix revealed a “lack of discipline”, according to former Formula 1 driver Hans-Joachim Stuck.

Red Bull told Verstappen to allow Sergio Perez to pass him on the final lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix, but the world champion refused. Stuck, who scored two podium finishes during his six-year F1 career, says Verstappen was wrong to disobey them.

“The first commandment in Formula 1 is to follow the team’s instructions unconditionally, because the drivers have signed a contract,” he told Eurosport.

Stuck said his former team principal Bernie Ecclestone shared his view of the incident. “He was very clear there,” he said. “If one of his drivers hadn’t followed such an instruction, Bernie would have thrown him out.”

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Comment of the day

There was little surprise when Max Verstappen was named RaceFans’ number one ranked driver of the 2022 season. But @f1frog believes the world champion’s season ranks among the best the sport has seen…

I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to describe this as one of the finest season performances in Formula 1 history. It was one of those occasions where one driver dominates a season despite not really having a dominant car. Similar to Lewis Hamilton in 2018, Michael Schumacher in 2001 and 1995, Alain Prost in 1985, Jackie Stewart in 1969, Jim Clark in 1965 and Juan Manuel Fangio in 1957.

He made extremely few errors, with Singapore the only significant one, and had only one weekend where he was outperformed by his teammate, in Monaco (and we later discovered that Perez might have crashed deliberately in qualifying to start ahead of him). His best weekends, in Spa and Suzuka, were extraordinary, and he was consistently on it all season to win 15 races. A truly fantastic season performances from the latest driver to join the list of ‘elites’ from Formula 1 history.
F1 Frog

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On this day in motorsport

  • Born today in 1949: One-time F1 race starter Warwick Brown

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 13 comments on “McLaren entering top level sportscar racing ‘a matter of when not if’ – Brown”

    1. Oh, Hans-Joachim. Why are you acting as if Bernie Ecclestone of all people would be a moral authority on team orders? (or really anything)

      Blindly following team orders is the domain of the mediocre drivers, the ones who know they are instantly replaceable.

      1. Yeah, they should always go rogue and go against the wishes of their employers. That can only work out well for everyone…..

    2. I guess since being a top team in f1 is a thing of the past let’s do other type of motorsport, sad.

      1. I’m hoping Le mans doesn’t do the same to Ferrari

    3. I’m sure I saw Alex Albons helmet here a minute ago, seems to have disappeared but I’ll be comment anyway.

      Great tribute Alex.
      For me Valentino’s “Face of fear” helmet is my favourite of all time.

      1. John Ballantyne
        24th December 2022, 4:15

        Good to see RaceFans back on line. By far the best coverage.
        Have a good Christmas

        1. By far the best coverage.
          Have a good Christmas

          Got that right devoid of most of the silliness elsewhere. I look once then back here.
          Thanks to all.

    4. Cringey helmet design & nice drawing, although I slightly struggle to recognize Zhou.

    5. Perhaps McLaren should focus on their F1 team and make that more of a priority. Their recent endeavours outside of F1 have all but benefitted their performances in F1. In recent years they have set up IndyCar, Xtreme E and FE teams and it all seems to have taken priority away from their F1 aspirations. If they are just in F1 for commercial reasons, then just say so and stop giving fans false hope of the team returning to a championship fighting position. 2025 Norris is out the door and no top driver will want to drive for this midfield team. Get your priorities straight.

      1. I stopped waiting for McLaren to be at the top of F1 again, maybe Brown too?

    6. The 1991 Ferrari 643 that officially launched French racing driver Jean Alesi’s Formula 1 career

      Eh? He debuted in F1 for Tyrrell in 1989.

      1. I think the 643 officially lunched his F1 career.

        1. I’d say it was Alesi’s battle with Senna in a Tyrrel at Phoenix 1990 that launched his F1 career.

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