An unfavorable start to the season saw drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri struggling considerably to amass points for the team, owing to the myriad challenges that McLaren encountered with their F1 car. However, the tides began to turn after the juncture of June, dramatically altering the trajectory for the team. It was as though the squad had stumbled upon a veritable magic wand for their MCL60.
Midway through the season, a series of upgrades were implemented on the McLaren F1 car, leading to a remarkable enhancement in its performance. This transformation allowed Norris to clinch dual second-place finishes at both the British and Hungarian Grands Prix. According to Brown, this surge in performance marked a pivotal milestone, serving to reaffirm to Norris that the team possessed the necessary vigor to pursue the championship title in the impending years.
“I think it’s been massively important for all of us. It shows we can do it.
“That being said, we haven’t won [a Grand Prix] with [Norris] yet.
“He loves McLaren, it’s been his family, so there’s no doubt in my mind is his number one choice is to win a World Championship with McLaren.
“I think the best thing we do to retain him is to demonstrate to him we’re a team capable of doing that.
“It’s not a case of wooing him or not wooing him, it’s about giving him a car where he can look himself in the mirror and say ‘I think I can win a World Championship with this team’.”
Having been an integral part of McLaren for a span of five years, Zak Brown found it imperative to accentuate the positive facets in order to persuade the 23-year-old racer that the team provided an optimal environment conducive to triumph. Reflecting on the recent surge in performance, Brown shared his insights with ESPN, stating, “To further substantiate to Norris that the team has indeed been resolute in its pursuit of the F1 championship, significant role alterations have been orchestrated within the organization.” Among the latest notable changes was the transition from technical director James Key to a triumvirate design team comprising Peter Prodromou, Neil Houldley, and David Sanchez.
“We’ve got our team in place. It’s stable. We have additional talent coming to be additive to what we currently have. We have all the financial resources we need.
“It’s just going to take a little bit of time so as long as we can show this progress, ’26 is going to be a huge reset for this sport and there’s not going to be any excuses for us. We have everything we need from resources, people, two great drivers, all the technology, infrastructure.
“As long as [Norris] continues to see our pace and development then I think he’ll have all the confidence in the world that this team’s won 20 World Championships and have everything they need.
“You look down the grid, there’s as many unknowns about ’26. Red Bull with a new engine, how’s that going to be? They’ve never done that before. There’s all sorts of variables going on there and I think our story is as good as anyone’s.”
Another monumental stride for the team was the establishment of their very own wind tunnel at the headquarters in Woking. This landmark development signaled a pivotal advancement, as McLaren would no longer be reliant on the Toyota facility in Cologne for testing purposes. With the impending 2026 power unit regulations on the horizon, Brown exuded confidence, believing that the team had positioned itself advantageously to forge ahead of its competitors. He articulated, “The team is well-equipped to navigate the changing landscape.”
Brown elucidated an array of compelling points that could not only sway Norris but also captivate the aspirations of any budding F1 driver contemplating their future within McLaren’s fold. Nevertheless, the paramount query remains: Will Norris seize this opportunity?