Lando Norris makes ‘not the nicest thing’ admission about McLaren

Lando Norris is set to stay at McLaren until the end of 2025.

McLaren’s Lando Norris is candid in his expectations as to how quickly the team can get back to the front, but he is prepared to wait for wins.

The 22-year-old signed with McLaren in 2019 ahead of their second season using Renault power, and the revolution had begun for the Woking-based side.

He and Carlos Sainz helped the Papaya squad climb from sixth to fourth in the Constructors’ Standings that year, and amid Ferrari’s slump in 2020, they managed third in 2020.

That was their highest championship position since 2012, but they were pushed back to fourth last year by a resurgent Ferrari, whom Sainz joined before being replaced by Daniel Ricciardo.

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Alpine, whom Norris and Sainz displaced in 2019 – the Spaniard beating his former team – have come back into the fight at the top of the midfield this year, and they have been troubling McLaren for fourth.

Norris has comfortably out-performed Ricciardo since his own signature from Renault at the beginning of 2021, establishing himself as the number one driver.

The Briton is so well ensconced within the set-up that he has signed a new deal that keeps him with the team until the end of 2025.

There is a long-term project happening at the British team at the moment, and Norris is very aware of that.

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“I would say even between 2022 to 2023 I’m not expecting realistically a win or a couple of wins,” he said, per 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.”

The six-time podium finisher came home second to Ricciardo in Monza last season, and came so close to winning in Russia, but for a strategy call in changing conditions.

The wait goes on for that first victory, but belief remains that it will eventually come.

“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,” added Norris.

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“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.”

Ricciardo will leave McLaren at the end of the season, and Norris will be partnering another Australian in 2023 – Oscar Piastri.