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Brown: McLaren still targeting top five in F1 pecking order this year

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McLaren executive director Zak Brown says the team is still aiming to better its performance from last year despite currently sitting last in the Formula 1 constructors’ championship after five races.

McLaren has been hamstrung by issues with the power unit supplied by Honda, which has lacked both reliability and performance so far this season following a redesign over the winter.

The team has seen the checkered flag just three times so far this season and is yet to finish on the lead lap, leaving it at the foot of the teams’ standings. It is also the only team not to score a point so far this season.

Speaking to the official F1 website, Brown said that even with its current problems, McLaren’s pre-season target remains unchanged as it looks to grow in strength ahead of 2018.

“We want to be better than we were in 2016; that remains. Whether that is in the final points tally, that will probably be difficult,” Brown said.

“But finishing the season and being more competitive than a sixth-place team, that is the goal and that has not changed.”

Brown admitted that he thought McLaren would be stronger this year than it has been, but remains confident that time can be made up through the remainder of the campaign.

” I thought we would have improved from 2016, which clearly we have not after the Barcelona race where things looked promising for a blink of an eye with Fernando [Alonso]’s grid position. But it didn’t work in the race.

“But I am optimistic that we will catch and pass our 2016 performance at the end of the year.”

Red Bull Air Race: Yoshi Muroya joins Sato as Japanese champs at Indy

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool
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Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.

Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.

Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.

A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.

A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.

CHECKING OUT EACH OTHER’S RIDES

ASTLES BREAKS THOUGH AS WELL

Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.

Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool