F1 News: McLaren downplay chances of challenging top 3 next season – Sports Illustrated

McLaren still lacks the necessary technology to challenge the top three, says Zak Brown, but the team still aims to close the gap to the front-runners. 
The Woking-based squad aims to finish the season in "at least fourth" and utilise their additional wind tunnel time (relative to the leaders) to reduce the deficit in performance. 
Having spent about half a decade rebuilding as a team and setting the foundations to again fight for victories, 2023 will be the first case study for McLaren's potential in the medium term. 
Whilst the British squad will see the benefit of a new wind tunnel in the next two seasons, there must be improvement irrespective of this new technology.
McLaren cannot afford to lose more ground to the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari, or else they risk spending the remainder of these regulations in the shackles of the midfield. 
Speaking with Speedcafe, Zak Brown outlined realistic expectations for the 2023 campaign:
"Well, I think closing the gap to the front of the field – we kind of have two data points to pay attention to.
"One is how close are we to the team that's winning, and if that team is not Mercedes. 
"Our other data point, given we share the same engine, is how close we are to Mercedes. 
"Those are our two primary data points, and we want to be closer to them next year when we were next year…
"I would like to get back up to at least fourth in the Championship, but I think we're going to need a little bit more of our technology in place to really break into the top three."
McLaren must play a fine balancing act over the winter, acknowledging their current shortcomings whilst showing an ambition to improve as a team. 
Ultimately, on-track performances are all that matter in Formula 1, so there is still a need for McLaren to remind the paddock why they were once World Champions. 


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