Zak Brown says the McLaren F1 Team are paying attention to what is going on in junior formulae, but at this time there is no reason to have their own junior programme as there would not be anywhere to put them in Formula 1 any time soon.
Brown says the way the Red Bull Junior Team has functioned is not the way he would want McLaren to develop young talent, with their rival’s method both expensive and ruthless in equal measures.
Whilst Red Bull have been able to bring talent into Formula 1, such as Max Verstappen and current McLaren racer Daniel Ricciardo, many other talents have come and gone from the programme, including the likes of Jean-Eric Vergne, Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and, most recently, Daniil Kvyat.
Brown, the CEO of McLaren, says the approach of his team will be much different, and they will target drivers that they believe will grow to become top level drivers, much like they did with the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Kevin Magnussen, Stoffel Vandoorne and current McLaren driver Lando Norris, when it is clear that a seat at the team will likely be available within a few years,
“While it’s great that Red Bull has found Max, they have gone through a lot of talent to get there and a lot of expense,” Brown is quoted as saying by GPFans.com. “I think we’re better off being very targeted.
“At this point, we are paying attention to what is happening in the junior formulae. We don’t have anyone really that is on a junior programme at this point because, again, I don’t think we would really have a home for them.
“We have a different philosophy. I think you do run into the problem, that the others have, where they have too many drivers and then they start to try to place them with other teams or they don’t have a seat available when their driver is ready.
“I think McLaren, especially with our recent progress, will always be a team that most drivers have a high desire to drive for, especially as we continue to progress.
“Lando [Norris] is very young, we’re just getting started with Daniel, so to have a driver knocking down our door in a year or two, we’re not going to have room for them.
“So I think we are more strategic, like we were with Lando. We found him early, like we did with Stoffel [Vandoorne]. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out. It worked with Lewis [Hamilton].
“We just handpick a few when you kind of see they might mature at a time when you might have a seat available.”