‘Imola is a strong race for us. We can win again this year’, says McLaren boss Zak Brown


The fast sweeps of Miami suited McLaren — to dramatic effect. Team boss Zak Brown says that the F1 car should also be strong at Imola next weekend, where another win is possible

Zak Brown at 2024 Historic Monaco GP

Zak Brown spent his weekend off in Monaco for the Historic Grand Prix


McLaren will arrive at Imola with its tail up following Lando Norris’s breakthrough win in Miami, and the team’s racing chief is optimistic that both drivers will have the pace to challenge Red Bull again.

The monkey has been peeled from Norris’s back, finally, at the 110th time of asking. He dropped in at the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique at the weekend to watch his boss race. “It’ll relax him a little bit,” says Brown of the Miami victory. “He handled the constant questioning of when are you going to win a race really well, but there’s no doubt that gets annoying. Having the most podiums without a win is not necessarily the record you want to have. So to get the win done and out of the way just means he can relax, he’s a grand prix winner and I suspect he’ll drive even faster because of that.”

Timing of the safety car was a stroke of luck, but Norris also showed true race-winning speed in Miami. Has that performance recalibrated Brown’s thoughts on McLaren’s form for the rest of the season, particularly in terms of taking on Red Bull?

“Not necessarily Red Bull because I think they have got the championship sewn up, but I think we can take the fight to Ferrari,” Brown tells Motor Sport. “I think we can take the fight to Red Bull on occasion, as we did in Miami. Oscar was very quick, I feel bad all the attention has gone to Lando – understandably — but Oscar was running P2 not far behind [Max Verstappen] and the safety car didn’t work to his advantage so he lost out. We could have had two cars on the podium. It gives us reason to think we can win some more races this year.”

Lando Norris with Zak Brown at 2024 Historic Monaco GP

Norris was a spectator at Monaco last weekend as his boss got behind the wheel


Which ones?

“Imola is a strong race for us. The fast stuff is good for us. There’s a handful. Silverstone, I think we’re going to be strong. Everyone is in a development race so you can’t write off Merc or Aston, but sitting here right now we have gapped them a little bit. But we also know what we did last year made up the points difference from where we were on Aston by the end of the year, and the points gap to Merc and Aston is not nearly as big.”

It’s a relentless challenge for Brown and his team, but given that he’s chosen to race on a rare weekend off, it’s clear Brown just can’t get enough of motor sport. “I love being at race tracks,” he shrugs. “It does turn into a bit of work. But that’s OK: I love my job.”