2022 was an odd season for McLaren, with Lando Norris having excelled once again whilst Daniel Ricciardo struggled to adjust to the new aerodynamic regulations.
The team didn’t design the best car for the new regs; that is something which has been apparent all season.
However, they’ve made up for this through reliability and hard work, with the Woking-based outfit having worked incredibly well together all season.
Norris in particular shone in 2022, with the British driver having claimed seventh in the Drivers’ Championship, awarding him the ‘best of the rest’ spot.
He single-handedly battled the Alpine duo of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso in the Constructors’ Championship, which McLaren unfortunately finished fifth in.
Despite this, the team seemed very positive and upbeat after the season finale in Abu Dhabi, with Norris believing that the side are on a “good trajectory”, suggesting that 2023 should be even better for the famous team.
“Everyone’s smiling now because we’ve had a good season for sure,” Norris told reporters after the season finale.
“Everyone has done a good job, the mechanics, the engineers, I think we’ve pretty much maximised every opportunity that we’ve had.
“The mechanics have done an outstanding job in the toughest year for pitstops with heavier tyres and worse guns – we had the fastest pitstop this year and multiple fast stops on race weekends.
“In so many areas, we are on a good trajectory and are better than ever.
“It is just the one thing you need to show all of that, for it all to be worth it. It is the thing that we are missing at the minute.
“The mechanics and engineers are fired up more than ever and have more energy than ever to go bigger and to make a better car.
“It’s just not an easy thing to do, but they have a good plan in place.”
Based on outright pace, Alpine did have a better package than McLaren; however, the Enstone-based side’s reliability was truly woeful, something which hurt them throughout the year.
Had Ricciardo fared better in 2022 then McLaren would’ve beaten Alpine to fourth in the standings with ease; alas, it wasn’t to be.
Despite this, the team has taken “motivation” from Norris, beating both Ocon and Alonso in the finale in Abu Dhabi and in the Drivers’ Championship.
“It’s just motivation and energy for everyone to finish ahead of Alpine in terms of a result and not the championship,” Norris added.
“You’re just always happier to be ahead of people and to have a good result.”