Carlos Sainz Jr claimed McLaren's first podium in five years at last season's Brazilian Grand Prix
London (AFP) - McLaren chief executive Zak Brown believes the British team have “turned the corner” and can look forward to the 2020 Formula One season with fresh optimism.
After years of disappointment, McLaren finished fourth in the Constructors’ championship last season - their best finish since 2012.
“These are very exciting times. We have turned the corner, we have a long way to go but I am excited for the first race in Australia,” said Brown.
“Our two drivers have brought a lot of energy to the team so credit to them - and McLaren is a fun place to be.”
Carlos Sainz Jr celebrated McLaren’s first podium in five years at the Brazilian Grand Prix and is again joined by 20-year-old Briton Lando Norris.
“We have hopefully put together a better package, a better car, and I have the feeling everything is coming together,” said Sainz.
“We have a positive momentum from last season, and we are hoping to carry that on this year.”
Despite being the best of the rest on the grid, McLaren still finished a mammoth 272 points behind third-placed Red Bull.
Between them, double world champions Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull claimed all 21 Grand Prix victories.
Norris, though, is more confident McLaren can break the stranglehold of the dominant top three teams this year.
“We have had the input into making this car, so it feels like my baby and I cannot wait to go and drive it,” said Norris, who finished 11th in the drivers’ championship in his debut season.
“If I think back to this point last year, I was pooping myself. Now, I am a lot more confident, more relaxed, and that prepares me for the season ahead.”