Zak Brown has claimed that the new power unit regulations could be a stumbling block for Max Verstappen and Red Bull ahead of the 2026 season. He believes that these changes could open the door for McLaren and Lando Norris to fight for World Championships.
The American is desperate to keep Norris attached to the McLaren F1 project with the 23-year-old currently subject to interest from Constructors’ Championship leaders Red Bull off the back of an immense start to the campaign.
Norris is contracted at McLaren until the end of the 2025 season and has previously stated his willingness to stick with the Woking-based team and fight for podiums. However, the prospect of battling reigning champion and close friend Max Verstappen for wins and titles could prove an irresistible proposition, should Red Bull table a formal offer.
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Speaking to ESPN about Norris’ hopes of winning a title with McLaren, Brown suggested: “You look down the grid, there’s as many unknowns about ’26. Red Bull with a new engine, how’s that going to be? They’ve never done that before. There’s all sorts of variables going on there and I think our story is as good as anyone’s.”
The 2026 regulation changes have been a contentious topic among team principals and key personnel recently. Long-time rivals Christian Horner and Toto Wolff have both traded verbal jabs as the two keep a close eye on their respective power unit development processes.
McLaren will be hoping that Mercedes come out on top in that particular battle. The Woking-based outfit are a customer team of the German manufacturer, and with Aston Martin migrating to Honda engines, are now the only team in the top six of the Constructors’ Championship standings to rely on another team for their power units.
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For now though, Red Bull and Verstappen are the ones to beat. The Milton Keynes-based team have won 100 per cent of the Grands Prix so far this season with their Dutch star proving utterly dominant out front.
The Dutchman is unbeaten since watching Sergio Perez win the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, taking eight victories on the spin to move within a single triumph of Sebastian Vettel’s record nine-race winning streak.
Norris, meanwhile, is still searching for his maiden Grand Prix victory, although impressive P2 finishes at both Silverstone and the Hungaroring have convinced the wider F1 community that the Bristol-born driver is a potential future world champion in the making.
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