Zak Brown found it “very flattering” to see McLaren get voted as Formula 1’s favourite team in the biggest-ever global fan survey earlier this week.
The results of the F1 Global Survey commissioned by Motorsport Network in partnership with F1 and Nielsen Sports were released on Thursday ahead of the United States Grand Prix after responses from more than 167,000 fans in 187 different countries.
McLaren finished head and shoulders clear of the rest of the field. Red Bull came second in the vote with 19.7%, while Ferrari was third on 17.9%, losing its crown as the fans’ favourite team from four years ago.
McLaren also ranked #1 with 40% of fans in the 16-24 age group and topped the vote in the UK, US, Australia, Canada and Brazil, as well as winning the regional vote in Europe, the Americas, Middle East and Africa.
Speaking in Friday’s FIA press conference, McLaren Racing CEO Brown said he found the result “very flattering, especially given where we’ve been the last five years”.
“To see our popularity climb as our results climb, I think our drivers have done an outstanding job and are a big contributor to being a very likeable team,” Brown added.
“All the men and women that are working so hard at McLaren. So it’s flattering. We try and put on a great show for the fans, and our partners, and it’s nice to see a very positive response from a big group of fans around the world.”
McLaren has placed a big focus on its digital output in recent years, and has been particularly active with Norris and Ricciardo, maximising their personalities off-track as well as their on-track performances.
“We try and be a fun racing team, an inclusive racing team,” Brown said.
“[We have] drivers that are very open, communicate with our fans frequently and often, and speak with them, listen to them. We’re just kind of doing our thing, and it’s nice to see them react so positively to it.
“I’m a huge fan of the sport, so I try and bring through the lens. It wasn’t long ago I was sitting in the grandstand, and try to understand what would get me excited about the sport.
“So we’re just trying to provide that experience back to the fans, and it seems to be working.”
Lando Norris, McLaren, 2nd position, Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing, and Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, 1st position, with the trophies
Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images
Mercedes slipped from second to fourth place in the vote compared to 2017, being voted favourite by 11.9% of fans.
Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff felt it was a “normal evolution” that came with a sustained period of success for any one team.
“We have been very fortunate to win seven times in a row, a tremendous streak of success,” Wolff said.
“It’s clear that in a nature that you cheer more for teams that have difficult times and are a little bit of the underdogs.
“Like Zak said, they are doing a super job with the drivers also, with Daniel who has been loved for a long time, and Lando is doing pretty well.
“So they deserve to be right up there, because the whole package in terms of marketing and social media allure is just very good.
“We need to think about what we can do, but you can’t change history and I wouldn’t want to change it.”