Despite the on-track troubles within the McLaren F1 Team, particularly during their three years with Honda as their engine suppliers, Zak Brown felt it allowed certain team members to shine through.
McLaren made the decision to switch from Honda to Renault power for 2018, but despite a lacklustre season that saw Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne score only thirty points between them, Brown felt there was still a sense of success at some levels, particularly in the chassis department that appeared to work so well.
“I think it was a fun year,” said Brown to Racer. “It’s easy when it’s easy. The challenge is when things are tough, so I think we’ve made some changes and those are people we didn’t think had the belief that the majority of us do on where we can take the team.
“So I think it’s helped make the stars rise to the top because when things are difficult you can see who is good or bad. When things are great, complacency can set in at an organization. We’ve been fighting for a long time now and I think it’s been really healthy for the team.
“I’d rather be dealing with complacency and winning four championships in a row but I think this is going to make us hungrier. So in that sense I think it’s been positive. It’s got everyone to step up.”
Despite the team appearing to fall off a cliff with their performance whilst with Honda, Brown feels the team were in decline before that, with their last Grand Prix victory coming all the way back in 2012, but they are working hard to getting back involved in the scrap at the front of the pack.
“It was good because the amount of pressure on everyone has been intense because we’ve been scrapping for every last tenth,” said Brown. “We like that there’s no place to hide, we don’t want to hide, we want to go motor racing. We’re McLaren, we want to get out there and mix it up.
“The last three years wasn’t designed to hide, it just happened. But people need to remember that our decline started in our last two years of the Mercedes relationship too. OK in our three years [with Honda] we kind of fell off a cliff, yes we had some podiums but we haven’t won a race since 2012.”