James Key is relishing the opportunity he has in McLaren as he discusses the limitations he faced in other F1 teams with set budget.
F1 teams vary in size from some of the smallest like Racing Point, Toro Rosso or Haas, to the largest like Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull and McLaren. With their varying sizes come varying environments for staff to adapt to and the opportunities presented.
Having worked with the likes of Jordan/Force India, Sauber and Toro Rosso, Key finally had the chance to work for a title-winning F1 team in McLaren. Immediately, the Brit could see the differences as relayed those to FormulaRapida.net when asked.
Key specifically mentioned an increase in pressure which he had to adapt to as well as increased freedom, and a stronger will to win than at other F1 teams. “Yeah, the pressure is there to a certain extent,” he said. “I mean certainly, you have to adapt to the situation you’re in, so adapting to a bigger team, [and] one that’s entirely independent as well.
“So it’s not endowed by anything, it can go its own route. It’s entirely up to us, which obviously adds an element of pressure, but it’s a positive element of pressure. But we’ve also got to stick with what we think would work best, so you take what you know, both technically and in terms of approach, and you adapt and apply that to the team you’ve got, and you change your approach.
“And the nice thing about McLaren is all the stuff I wish I’d had in the last teams, a lot of it is already there, apart from the wind tunnel. So that freedom to operate a little bit more, to do more things than was possible before, it’s just something on your wishlist, now we can approach.
“The other thing which is different for me and really positive is that it’s the first team I’ve worked in that’s won a F1 championship. And you see that with other ex-championship teams, the belief and confidence that gives a team, and the desperate will to get back there is very strong.
“Whereas if you haven’t done that before and you’re climbing a ladder, which is all teams I’ve been at before, you’re still kind of learning what that is, and how to get the confidence to be there- the belief to be there. But that’s kind of within McLaren in a very sensible way, not in an overoptimistic way, but in a sensible way where we know we can do it, we’ve not done it for a while, but we believe we can because we’ve been there before.
“So it let’s push as hard as we can and try and get back to where we’d like to be. And that’s really good, it’s quite humble but very good attitude to have, and approach to have, and something that’s new to me.”
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