In a candid reflection, McLaren driver Lando Norris openly admitted that the team’s performance over the past few seasons has fallen short of expectations, characterising them as “pretty poor.”
Despite a third-place finish in the Constructors’ Championship during Norris’ second year with McLaren in 2020, the team faced a setback, sliding to fifth place in the last season.
The challenges continued as the current season began, with McLaren’s leadership acknowledging that developmental goals for their MCL60 car had been missed over the winter.
However, a significant turnaround since the Austrian Grand Prix has catapulted the British team toward the front of the pack.
Norris, in particular, shone with back-to-back podium finishes at Silverstone and the Hungaroring. The recent surge in McLaren’s performance has been greatly bolstered by substantial upgrades, and the team eagerly anticipates further progress.
Excitingly, a group of technical experts is slated to join the team next year, while new state-of-the-art simulator and wind tunnel facilities are set to come online, enhancing McLaren’s capabilities significantly.
Norris stressed that McLaren has been diligently trying to bridge the gap with its competitors, and he regards the updated infrastructure as an essential area that should have been addressed years ago.
“That’s something I look forward to, and therefore I’m very happy about, because the last few seasons have been pretty poor,” Norris candidly admitted in an interview with Speedcafe.
He continued, “These little things also, wind tunnel, simulator, all these things, we’re now on track to what we should be doing and probably should have done years ago.”
The young driver’s enthusiasm for McLaren’s future is palpable, but he remains determined for immediate gains.
“Those are the things that I love, just because it’s direct,” Norris explained.
He elaborated that he finds it challenging to focus on the distant future, saying, “The future is just too far away, what’s the point speaking of things so far away?”
His motivation stems from a profound love for the sport, which he has cherished since childhood.
He expressed his single-minded dedication to Formula 1, saying, “My motivation is to stay in Formula 1 and do what I love to do.
“I think that’s quite easy enough to stay motivated. If that doesn’t motivate you, then I don’t know what will.”
Norris highlighted the ongoing narrative of McLaren’s transformation, remarking on the journey from past struggles to a more optimistic outlook. “Theirs is some… trying to complete a story with McLaren, to go from where we were years ago, this kind of bumpy road we’ve been on the last couple, to feeling a bit more positive about what things are coming our way in the near future and in the far future.”
McLaren’s recent resurgence has seen the team leapfrog Alpine to secure a comfortable fifth position in the Constructors’ standings.
Despite this impressive rise, there remains a sizeable gap of 88 points between McLaren and the fourth-place team, Ferrari.