McLaren F1 Team CEO Zak Brown believes his team are on the correct path to the front of the grid but is not able to set specific targets this year.
The Woking-based team sealed a Constructors’ finish of sixth in the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship but lacked car performance after switching from Honda to Renault engines.
Midway through the season, McLaren parted company with Racing Director Eric Boullier and began rebuilding its outfit.
Brown’s team have not achieved a Grand Prix victory since the 2012 Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix and have yet to finish on the podium since the 2014 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso will not be racing for McLaren this year, with newcomer Lando Norris partnered up with ex-Renault F1 Team and Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda pilot Carlos Sainz.
Brown however has placed a target for when his team will be on a “journey” to challenge for race wins and championships.
“I have just presented a five-year plan, and within that plan, we think we have a journey to get back to winning races, and then once you’re winning races, you’re competing for the championship,” Brown told ESPN.
“I think it’s critical that Liberty makes changes to the sport because, right now, the way the sport is going, it’s difficult for more than two or three teams to compete for the championship, so I think there are things that are out of our control, but hopefully we can influence that need to change for multiple teams to be able to win races and compete for the championship.
“We have laid out a journey and investment, a road to recovery that sees us getting back to the front of the grid in that timeline.”
McLaren arrived in 2018 hoping to challenge for podiums during the campaign. Unfortunately they fell well below their target and Brown is intending not to have a repeat in the 2019 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.
“I think we want to stay away from making predictions. We know that it hasn’t been pretty for the last couple of years, so we don’t want to make that mistake again.
“I would say our expectation is that we will continue to make a step forward. We had 15 [grid-place penalties in 2018] as opposed to a few hundred, so this year was a step forward, although not the step forward we had hoped to make.
“So our expectations are that we are going to continue that journey in 2019, but I want to stop short of saying where that will be in the constructors’ championship. I know where I hope to be, but I don’t know where we will be until we hit the ground running.”