Max Verstappen, Lando Norris, Red Bull Ring, 2024

Red Bull’s “win-at-all-costs mentality” is not how we go racing – McLaren

Formula 1

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McLaren believe they can challenge Red Bull in the championship without resorting to the same tactics as their rivals.

The team accused their rivals of encouraging Max Verstappen to break the racing rules as he fought Lando Norris in last week’s race at the Red Bull Ring. The pair eventually collided.

Following the race McLaren team principal Andrea Stella said Verstappen had been emboldened to push the limits of the racing rules because he had been inadequately penalised for a series of incidents involving Lewis Hamilton when they fought for the championship in 2021. Verstappen won the drivers’ title that year while Mercedes clinched the constructors’ championship.

The fight between Red Bull and Mercedes became increasingly bitter over the course of the season. Red Bull petitioned the stewards to impose a second penalty on Hamilton following a collision between the two drivers at Silverstone. They went to the length of using one of their test drivers to simulate Hamilton’s racing line in a bid to strengthen their ultimately unsuccessful claim.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said he is under no illusions about the strength of the challenge Red Bull represent, but said his team won’t compromise its competitive ethics in the fight between them.

“We’re prepared to go toe-to-toe,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “‘Nasty’ is not how McLaren goes racing. I think you can go to toe-to-toe, but you don’t have to be nasty about it.

“They seem to, at times, have a ‘win-at-all-costs’ mentality. That’s not how we go racing. But we think you can go toe-to-toe and take the fight to them our own way.”

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Norris is Verstappen’s closest threat in the drivers’ championship, but lies 81 points behind him with 362 available. Although it is the first time Norris has been involved in a championship fight, Brown believes he is capable of winning.

“I think to win the Formula 1 world championship, everyone needs to be at 100%,” he said. “I think Lando’s learning every time out there. He’s got the benefit of one win. Max and Lewis and [Micheal] Schumacher – I think when you’ve won as much as they’ve won, that gives you a lot of experience.

“Lando’s still getting that experience of winning grands prix, which I think is great because the only way to get in is to get stuck in there. And I think he’s just going to continue to improve as a driver.

“I think he’s perfectly capable of winning the world championship now, but it doesn’t mean he still can’t get better. I think Max is a better driver today than he was year one of his championship, year two of his championship. I think these drivers continuously refine their game.”

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Author information

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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18 comments on “Red Bull’s “win-at-all-costs mentality” is not how we go racing – McLaren”

  1. Oh god, give it a rest. Max was over the line, but they should stop answering questions on the topic or at least not continuing to add fuel to the fire.

    1. Hear hear.

  2. Which is why McLaren isn’t ready to win a championship.

    Teams like Red Bull, Mercedes & Ferrari didn’t win as many championships as they did over the past 20 years just because they had a great car and a great driver; they had the success they did because both team & drivers would do whatever they had to do to win both on & off the track. You have to be ruthless at times, you have to skirt the regulations, push the boundaries & have a killer instinct that helps you get ahead & stay ahead.

    If you aren’t prepared to do that and your rivals are then your chances of success, especially long term success, will be massively reduced.

    1. Charlie Racing
      6th July 2024, 14:45

      Oh but Zak is very much able to do that. And he will. But for now it’s just a bit of politics.

      1. The best always want to win at all cost.. And the best don’t need politics..

        1. Jonathan Parkin
          6th July 2024, 17:27

          Jenson didn’t need it. Neither did Damon Hill

  3. Which is why McLaren hasn’t won a championship in nearly 2 decades.

    You need to use ALL of your resources to win, if that means doing the naughty a bit, so be it. You need to push those boundaries to the extreme, it’s the very nature of this sport, specially when it comes to technical regulations. So of course you have to do it in other aspects as well.

    1. I think what he meaning is they don’t need to break the cost cap or indeed break check on track or attempt run the other off the road every other corner or use their (uninvolved in the title battle) second driver to drive 2 sectors 7 seconds off the pace to keep a rival behind. In other words they’d like to keep it relatively clean and above board.

      For some keeping values or character or integrity, whatever word it may be, matters more than winning at all costs. It’s that simple.

  4. It wouldn’t hurt so much if they had not wasted the opportunities they had to win in Canada and Spain.

    1. Hard to say wasted when really it was highly contested in those races behind max. Now it seems max isn’t still slight ahead but remains to be seen on race pace and indeed seemed true in Austria. Could just as much have been 46 points behind but the contact in Austria caused the cooked crumble in the opposite way. Sometimes though in the long run these things balance thensleves out. Often true.

  5. Again

  6. Perez has that lose at all costs mentality right now.

    1. It’s more like redbull choose to have a lose at all costs 2nd driver choice. If they chose win at all cost for their 2nd driver role they would have booked sainz instead, maybe they were banking on not needing too relying on car advantage to win the constructors. Unless of course win at all costs only means the wdc.

  7. McLaren was humbled for a little while during their Honda debacle. Humbled a bit more when Honda started winning races in just over a year after leaving them, and championships a few years later.

    But now that they finally found their way back to the front, they’ve quickly become less and less likable.Both Stella and especially Brown spend more time trash talking other people that winning actual races. Maybe do your talking on track and zip it otherwise? I find it hard to support the team lately, and that has little to do with their drivers and track performances and everything to do with their attitudes.

  8. “How to bully a Red Bull” by Zak Brown.

  9. Jonathan Parkin
    6th July 2024, 17:30

    The problem with a win at all costs mentality is it can sometimes bite you in the butt.

    Michael Schumacher could have had nine World Championships had he curbed these instincts at Jerez in 97 and Monaco in 06

  10. Ironic, he managed to claim not being nasty here

  11. This aged really well after they threw away a 1-2 in the race to finish 3rd.

Comments are closed.