Zak Brown admits that the next step is big for McLaren going forward but for the moment is remains humble with regards to the challenge in 2020 F1 season.

Having cleared the mid-field in the 2019 F1 season, the next target for McLaren is in the lofty heights as they’ll need crack the top three teams of Mercedes, Red Bull Racing, and Ferrari, who’ve been in a class of their own for several years running.

The trio have remained largely untouched by the lower-down F1 outfits, where the last few seasons has seen charges from Williams, Force India (now Racing Point), Renault and also McLaren, but none able to take the next step and penetrate the top three.

Recognising the challenge that lies ahead for McLaren, team principle Brown has said that they won’t get there in one year. In fact, the American said that they will most likely not improve in 2020 to the extent that they did from 2018 to 2019.

The step is quite large unless anyone from top three F1 teams falter. And so, Brown feels that McLaren has to remain humble and focus on carrying the 2019 momentum in 2020 and not go backward as the other midfield teams have done so.

“We recognise the next step is a big step,” said Brown to media including “We’re not going to get there in one year, so I think one of the things we’ve done recently is re-calibrate our expectations.

“I think, we thought when we changed power units, we were just going to go right back to the front, and clearly we didn’t. So we’re not gonna make that mistake again, and go ‘OK now we got some momentum, we found a second in the off-season, we’re gonna find a second next off-season’.

“It is going to get incrementally harder the more we push forward. [The] first thing we need to do is make sure we don’t go backward. The midfield is very close, so while we’re looking ahead, the teams in fifth, sixth and seventh are not that far behind.

“So I think we just need to keep our head down, and work for incremental gain, and then recognise that the budget cap is gonna play a role in leveling the playing field, and while it starts in 2021, I don’t think it’ll have really any impact until ‘2022.

“So, we’ve got this journey we’re on, and year one, [we’re going] into the right direction, but it’s gonna still take some time until we get where we need to be.” Brown reiterated the expectation point, which is where McLaren failed during the Honda years.

As it looks ahead to 2020 with Renault, it is worth to note that McLaren will be switching to the Mercedes power unit from 2021 forward, which could potentially prove fruitful for the team. When asked by, Brown confirmed a likely switch to Petronas.

Here’s Zak Brown on repaying the faith put in by McLaren

Here’s Zak Brown on McLaren benefiting from new pairing

Here’s James Key on the progress from Carlos Sainz

Here’s news on management shuffle at McLaren from 2020

Here’s Lando Norris outlining what McLaren has to do in 2020

Here’s James Key on McLaren’s new F1 simulator

The story was edited by Darshan Chokhani