Drivers were penalised throughout the weekend at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg for crossing the white lines – with the final classification for Sunday’s race only settled five hours after the chequered flag.
Eight of the 20-strong grid were dealt post-race sanctions by the FIA, with Lewis Hamilton demoted from seventh to eighth.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz slipped two places to sixth, while Frenchman Esteban Ocon was handed an extraordinary half-a-minute’s worth of combined penalties for track-limit infringements.
Earlier in the weekend, world champion Max Verstappen accused race director Niels Wittich of making the grid’s stars look like “amateurs”. In all, more than 100 laps were deleted during Sunday’s race.
“It definitely wasn’t ideal what happened, and that’s stating the obvious,” said Brown.
“Where we need to do a better job is that we knew this was going to be a problem on Friday and yet we just kind of watched it happen.
“We need to make sure it never happens again, and that we do a proper debrief and understand how we could have prevented it in the first place or handled it differently.”
McLaren driver Lando Norris benefited from Sainz’s post-race penalty to be promoted to fourth to take his best result of a difficult season for the British team.
Brown, speaking at the reveal of a one-off livery for McLaren’s home race at Silverstone this weekend, continued: “I’ll take my hat off to the FIA for addressing the issue and I think it would have been easy to say, ‘this is going to cause a lot of noise, let’s just kind of get it right next time’.
“For them to put their hands and say there were some penalties that needed to be addressed, I thought that was a brave decision.
“But we can’t have it again. We can’t have a race and then five hours later you have that degree of change in the result.”