McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has said he is expecting the Woking-based team to be engaged in an intense, ultra-tight battle against its rivals in 2021.
Brown identified the newly rebranded Aston Martin as an especially worthy adversary, particularly with four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel driving one of their cars.
Racing Point, as the team was called last season, narrowly missed out on third in the 2020 Constructors’ Championship to McLaren despite them having the faster car.
Speaking to Sky F1 this week, Brown said he expects Aston Martin to be very tough to beat in 2021.
“Given the car that they have – they’ve got the quickest car on the grid next to the Mercedes – I think they’ll be very tough [to beat],” he said.
“I think that whole group that we were fighting with last year, we’re going to pick up right where we left off in Abu Dhabi.
“Sebastian Vettel’s a four-time champion so, while he didn’t have a great year last year, I think he’ll be on his A-game and highly motivated so we’ve got to watch all of these guys,” Brown added.
Meanwhile, McLaren driver Lando Norris said he expects their battle with Ferrari to be close this upcoming season:
“Ferrari are Ferrari. They’re extremely strong and competitive, they’ve shown that through their whole period in Formula 1.
“There are going to be races where they are quicker than us, and hopefully more races where they are slower than us.
“But it’s not just them, it’s every competitor on the grid,” the Brit, now entering his third season with McLaren, added.
The Scuderia had a woeful 2020 campaign, but they’ll be running a new power unit this year which should make them and their customer teams – Haas and Alfa Romeo – more competitive at power-hungry tracks where they were so poor last season.