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Brown describes ‘confident’ mood at McLaren as they set sights on Red Bull for 2024

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ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - AUGUST 25: McLaren F1 team CEO Zak Brown walks in the paddock during

McLaren boss Zak Brown has set out his expectations for the upcoming F1 season after the team pulled the wraps off the livery that will adorn their cars this year – saying employees at Woking have delivered a “fantastic” winter push.

Following their tricky start to the 2023 campaign, a technical restructuring overseen by Team Principal Andrea Stella, and major mid-season upgrade packages, transformed McLaren’s fortunes, bringing them into regular podium contention.

READ MORE: McLaren become first F1 team to unveil 2024 look with new livery revealed

It culminated in seven podium finishes across the last eight races, including five P2 results, along with fourth in the constructors’ standings behind Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari – having jumped clear of Aston Martin late on.

Addressing the mood in the McLaren camp as their new livery was unveiled, and setting his sights on the reigning world champions, Brown said: “I’m feeling confident. I think all the men and women at McLaren have done a fantastic job in the off-season.

“Of course, there will be a continued development [with the car], so we’re not done, we’re just done with our launch spec car – expect continued improvement over the course of the year.”

Zak Brown reacts to launch of new McLaren livery and previews the upcoming 2024 season

He continued: “Clearly, we want to continue to close the gap [to the front]. I think we finished up last year as the second or third-quickest team, [depending on] which circuit you were at.

“[But] Red Bull certainly seem like they didn’t develop last year to the level they could [have done] if they wanted to, so that could be an unpleasant surprise for all of us!”

ANALYSIS: As McLaren reveal their new livery, are they the team set to take the fight to Red Bull in 2024?

Meanwhile, Stella shared some more details regarding McLaren’s new car – including why they should avoid the same fate as 12 months ago and the potential that’s still to be unlocked in the development direction they switched to.

“So far, I have to say we don’t see the diminishing returns,” he said of McLaren’s development outlook for 2024 following last year’s surge. “This obviously will have to be proven once we put the car on the ground.

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McLaren unveiled their new livery they would be running in the 2024 season

“When it comes to the wind tunnel development, the CFD development, we see that the gradient we established last year that led to the Austria development and then the Singapore development, it seems like we can maintain it.

“That’s also where I would expect the launch car to be, at the start of the season, and we are already starting to work on the further developments that we hope to bring relatively soon in-season – and they also seem to be quite interesting.

READ MORE: Brown insists it will take McLaren until 2025 to 'maximise everything' after new hires and wind tunnel investment

“I would say in terms of the regulations themselves, and in terms of the development we are having specifically at McLaren, we are seeing that the kind of linear gradient of development can be maintained.”

One driver with an eye on McLaren ahead of the new season is reigning world champion Max Verstappen, who feels they have potential to be “very strong” from the outset after their “most impressive” progress through 2023.

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