Lando Norris believes McLaren taking the fight to Red Bull is “very good signs” for the Woking-based team, to the point that the British driver is “optimistic” that a 2024 title challenge could be on the cards.
McLaren’s recovery this season has been nothing short of exceptional, with them having gone from being a backmarker to Red Bull’s closest competitor.
The British outfit endured a woeful start to 2023, caused entirely by a shocking package.
It was evident that something had to be done to rescue their season, so McLaren opted to introduce a huge upgrades package at the Austrian Grand Prix.
Since the Austrian GP, Norris has featured on the podium seven times, whilst rookie Oscar Piastri has claimed two podiums of his own and a sprint victory in Qatar.
Norris in particular has been challenging Max Verstappen at every opportunity, with him having scored the second most points on the grid since F1’s trip to the Red Bull Ring.
“Since we bought this upgrade to Austria, I’ve been the second-highest-scoring driver on the grid,” said Norris, as reported by SpeedCafe.
“I think we’ve been the second-highest-scoring team, potentially.”
McLaren recently overtook Aston Martin for fourth in the Constructors’ Championship; however, if they’d started the season strongly then they’d arguably be in second.
Nevertheless, the future is looking incredibly bright for the historic side, who Norris revealed have “plenty more things to come” in 2024.
There is a genuine belief amongst the paddock and behind-the-scenes at McLaren that they genuinely could take the fight to Red Bull next year, if they start sharply in Bahrain.
Norris thinks it’s incredible that McLaren are even talking about trying to compete with Red Bull, let alone beat them, something he believes can happen in the coming season.
“Of course, we’ve taken some massive steps forward and at the same time, considering we’re talking about fighting the Red Bull,” Norris added.
“It’s still a very, very good thing for what we’ve achieved this year.
“We’re talking about one of the best drivers in Formula 1 ever, in one of the most dominating cars and obviously, it’s a pairing and things have to go well together, but we’re talking about a guy who’s scored 17 [wins]… one of the most dominated years in Formula 1 history.
“For us to go from where we were in Bahrain to getting close and talking about fighting a Red Bull I think are very good signs for us.
“We know we still have plenty more things to come next year, so I’m excited.
“Having that as a thought, it’s quite a faraway thought – I don’t want to think of that just now. There’s no point thinking of it until next year, but I’ll be optimistic, and I believe we can do it as a team.”