McLaren boss Zak Brown has revealed that Red Bull's approach of switching focus to the 2024 F1 challenger much earlier than anybody else is a scary thought for the chasing pack.
The Austrian team has a double handicap in play that it has to overcome. It has the least development time in hand because it is leading the championship.
To make things worse, the team will face a further 10% reduction in the development time as part of its cost cap penalty. Because of this, Red Bull has decided to move to developing its new car much earlier than any of its competitions.
Despite that, this year's car is by far the class of the field even though the competition has been bringing upgrades relentlessly.
At the start of the weekend, McLaren boss Zak Brown touched on this. He said that the fact that Red Bull has been working on next year's car for this long and its current car is still by far the best is one scary prospect when they think about the 2024 season. He told Sky Sports in Japan:
"I think we’ll be competitive around here. Max is back in the front again, so it was fun while it lasted. I would imagine that given Red Bull’s dominance, they turned off their development quicker than others to focus on next year’s car."
"So that’s a bit scary what might be coming. The rest of us are continuing to chase, but the rules are pretty stable. So I think everything that we’re learning now will apply to next year’s car," he added.
"We’ve got a really competitive racing car now" - McLaren boss
Talking about the upgraded McLaren, Zak Brown was quite confident in claiming that the car was now good in all conditions.
"I feel like we’ve got a really competitive racing car now for the balance of the year because we’ve been to enough different types of tracks. So to get them bolted on the car and seeing it work is just a testament to how good the team is doing, how confident they are in the design and development and manufacturing."
McLaren has been the closest challenger for Red Bull and Max Verstappen this weekend, especially since it will have Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri starting the race in P3 and P2, respectively.