McLaren’s Lando Norris expects wins to materialise by the 2024 season, but he is prepared to wait patiently until then.
The Briton made his debut with McLaren in 2019, partnering Carlos Sainz after the departure of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne.
The pair helped the Papaya squad climb to fourth in the championship, displacing Sainz’s former French employers.
They beat Racing Point to third in 2020, before Sainz left for Ferrari, with Daniel Ricciardo himself moving over from Renault.
Sainz and Charles Leclerc helped the Scuderia force their way back into the top three ahead of the British side, with whom Ricciardo has struggled to find consistent form.
Renault have since changed their identity to Alpine, and Alonso returned to Enstone to partner Esteban Ocon, and the pair are currently leading the race for fourth in the 2022 championship.
Norris has been the lead driver at McLaren having out-performed Ricciardo for the last two seasons, and his six podiums with the team have earned him a new contract until the end of 2025.
The Bristol-born driver will be part of what McLaren hope will be a revolutionary transition for them.
They will have a new wind tunnel and contemporary simulator in the coming years, so race wins could well be on the horizon.
Immediate success is perhaps a little too ambitious though, so Norris is at McLaren for the long haul as they try to become competitive for the first time in the turbo-hybrid era.
“I would say even between 2022 to 2023 I’m not expecting realistically a win or a couple of wins,” he said, quoted by Motorsport Week.
“For me my confidence is in 2024 and 2025, and until then I need to play a little bit of the patience game.
“There’s still times where you could achieve a win, even with Daniel last year achieving a win [in Italy], and me almost having pole in Austria, having pole in Russia, almost winning Russia – those things can come along the way.
“Even when Ocon wins and Gasly wins, those moments can come, but until genuinely being in a position where I can say ‘There’s now more excuses and we want to win genuinely rather than with a bit of luck because certain things happen’, that time is in 2024 and 2025.
“Until then it’s a patience game, which is not the nicest thing because I do get frustrated, like this year we’re not as competitive as what we want to be.
“So is the whole team, like James [Key, technical director] and everyone understands we should have taken a step forward this year and if anything, we are a little bit back from where we were.
“Of course everyone is frustrated because of that because we all have the same goals.”
Norris came so close to winning the Russian Grand Prix last season, but given a little more time, he believes his team can come out of the midfield and hit the pointy end.
“I guess just personally as a driver sometimes it hurts, you can feel like you do such a good job and you get a little bit stuck at times,” he added.
“You don’t feel like you’re getting rewarded that well for what you’re achieving or what you’re putting in, but I think that’s just Formula 1, that’s just what happens.
“Many drivers have gone through those times. I just have the faith that we will be able to move out of this little area that we’re in, and have been these last few years, and take those next few steps earlier on.”
13 points separate Alpine and McLaren in their battle for fourth.