Brown: McLaren won’t be lost without Alonso

Date published: January 12 2019

Despite losing Fernando Alonso at the end of last season, McLaren CEO Zak Brown is confident the team won’t be left floundering without his technical feedback.

Alonso opted to retire from Formula 1 at the end of 2018 prompting McLaren to introduce an all-new line up.

The team will field Carlos Sainz and rookie driver Lando Norris.

But while Norris will spend 2019 honing his craft at McLaren, Brown is confident that Sainz can offer the feedback needed to develop their 2019 car.

“Carlos has a lot of experience and it is good that he has been in a couple of different teams,” he told Motorsport.com.

“Lando has proven that he is extremely quick, so as far as ultimate performance of how fast our race car is, I think those drivers will get the most out of the car.

“They will be able to tell us.

“Someone like Lando does not have the experience of Fernando, nor the type of feedback, and it will take some time for him to develop, but for Carlos it is his fifth year in the sport [F1], so we are comfortable with our drivers.”

Both drivers have already spent time with the McLaren team with Norris their 2018 reserve driver while Sainz joined the fold ahead of last year’s post-season Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Brown reckons in their newest Spaniard they have a driver who understands the technical side of the sport.

“I started to get to know Carlos before we signed him,” he said. “I like him a lot, otherwise we would not have signed him.

“But I have to break it into two things: him as a person and him as a driver.

“As a person, I think he is very well managed, very educated, intelligent and has been around motor racing his entire life. I like his personality, and his attitude.

“He is very approachable, and I think commercially he is very friendly to sponsors, so the off-track package is there so to speak.

“He is very dedicated, asks a lot of questions, and is very mature given his age but I think that is because of how long he has been in F1.

“Then, as a driver, from what we have seen so far, we are very impressed. He is aggressive, he is very engaged with the engineering team, and he wants to know what is happening.

“He spends time on the phone with me, the engineers, and he has done a lot of off-season conversations with Fernando.

“He is very engaged and I think he is very excited. I think he is fully up for joining us on our road to recovery.”