Lando Norris has admitted that he believes it’s “unlikely” that he’ll be able to “win a championship” until the latter end of his current contract with McLaren, which expires at the end of 2025.
After fighting amongst the frontrunners for the bulk of 2021, the Woking-based outfit well and truly returned to the midfield in 2022, with the team having endured a challenging start to the new aerodynamic regulations.
For McLaren, 2023 is a year to at least reclaim their place as the best midfield side, with perhaps a few podiums along the way.
Norris seemingly agrees with this but is hopeful that this season he can finally “win a race”, something he is yet to achieve despite having come agonisingly close.
“With everything I’ve learned, maybe I could win a race, but I’m unlikely to win a championship until possibly that time,” he told GQ magazine.
“I know I need to be at the absolute top of my game in those years.”
Norris has been McLaren’s star for the bulk of his four years with the team, having been able to perform consistently well.
He’s proven to be capable of extracting more than is possible from a package, something he most certainly did last season whilst single-handedly fighting the Alpine drivers.
2022 was certainly a year of self-assessment for McLaren, having fallen from where they were in 2021, with Norris too having been “very critical” of his performances, something he has picked up after targeting perfection from himself.
“I think I’m a fair loser, but I’ve always been a guy who’s very harsh on myself,” Norris said.
“I’m very critical of my own performance. I always think, what could I have done better, and then, what could the team have done better?
“I love to listen. It might not be something I’m necessarily giving input on, but because I love racing, the more I can know about, that’s a good thing.
“I’m a perfectionist. I try as hard as I can to be a better driver.
“I hate losing. But losing gives me the drive to figure it out and do a better job next time.”
The 23-year-old is clearly rated incredibly highly by not only McLaren but the entire paddock, with Red Bull having held several discussions with the Brit over a potential move.
McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown is one of many to constantly sing Norris’ praises, with the American being particularly impressed by his “technical feedback”.
“I think we get the best out of him; he’s more talkative and engaged,” Brown told GQ.
“He’s able to let his hair down. It’s like family.
“He takes the things that he needs to take seriously, very seriously. But he also knows that we’re in a fun business, racing cars.”
“He knows how to get the best out of a race car and put the car to its limits,” added Brown.
“He’s also able to very articulately convey what that car is doing, because he has such a good feel for it; his technical feedback is excellent.”
It’s incredible to think that despite being just 23, 2023 will be Norris’ fifth season at the pinnacle of motorsport.
The only way for the British star is up, with Brown being certain that he will “be a World Champion”.
“I think he’s got another ten to 15 years ahead of him,” Brown concluded.
“I think as long as we can get him a car, he’ll be a world champion.”