Fernando Alonso has spoken highly of Zak Brown, McLaren Technology Group’s new Executive Director, claiming that the American is more open to new ideas than his predecessor Ron Dennis.
Following pressure from the board of directors, Dennis resigned from his position at the helm of McLaren at the end of 2016 and was swiftly replaced by Brown, with the American overseeing the troublesome start to the 2017 season for the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team.
Despite the team’s struggles on track, Brown has instigated a number of changes, most notably the decision to take McLaren back to the Indianapolis 500 with Alonso at the wheel, an exercise Alonso believes would never have happened under Dennis.
The relationship between Alonso and Dennis was often strained, particularly during their first season working together in 2007, and although things appeared better throughout their time together in 2015 and 2016, Alonso feels that the team is more open under Brown.
“I think they are very different and I think there is a not a magic solution, or a magic way to lead a team to success,” Alonso told Crash.net.
“I think Ron had a fantastic time in the past in McLaren with a lot of success. And now with Zak, things are a little bit more open, inside the team but also for you guys, outside, how you can approach McLaren now is different, on the commercial side, also in a technical side.
“I think also with Zak the biggest difference is the vision and the approach for the brand, for McLaren, which is a little bit different and wants to span the McLaren in different worlds and different categories.”
Alonso doesn’t believe that McLaren’s entry in this year’s Indy 500 will be a one-off, suggesting that it may become an annual occurrence. The man chasing motor racing’s coveted Triple Crown also predicts a return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans for McLaren.
“We’ll see with the Indy 500, I think it is not only this year. I think McLaren will be in the Indy 500 for the future,” Alonso said.
“I think McLaren will be in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the future, as they were in the past, when they won the Indy 500, when they won Le Mans.
“So that’s the biggest change we can feel inside McLaren, that Zak will not only concentrate in Formula One, will concentrate in McLaren as a race team in different series and the most important thing is obviously to sell cars.
“To sell the McLaren cars you need to open to new markets and especially the US market is probably the biggest one.”