Lando Norris has warned Mercedes and Ferrari that McLaren have “plenty more things” to introduce in 2024, to further increase their already impressive pace.
McLaren’s comeback in 2023 is by far one of the stories of the season, given that they were basically a backmarker in the opening rounds.
The Woking-based team entered the season-opener in Bahrain absolutely nowhere in terms of pace, leading to suggestions that Norris and rookie Oscar Piastri were in for a long season.
McLaren remained at the back throughout the opening rounds, with scoring points having been very challenging.
However, this all changed at the Austrian Grand Prix, where the British manufacturer introduced a huge upgrades package.
The package revolutionised McLaren and completely flipped their season, as they were suddenly capable of competing with Mercedes, Ferrari and Aston Martin.
Norris even briefly led the British Grand Prix, whilst Piastri finished the Belgian Grand Prix sprint race in second.
McLaren simply grew in stature as the season developed, to the point that they were Red Bull’s biggest threat for the majority of the season after summer break.
To put it into some context, Norris’ best result before the Austrian GP was fourth in Australia; however, since the race at the Red Bull Ring, the 23-year-old secured seven podium finishes in the space of 13 races.
Piastri also secured two rostrums and a Sprint win in Qatar, with McLaren having ended 2023 fourth in the standings after overtaking Aston Martin despite the odds being very much against them.
McLaren perhaps have the most momentum going into the winter break, to the point that some expect them to be the side to end Red Bull’s dominance.
Simply catching Mercedes and Ferrari is a huge deal for the side, with Norris admitting that he never thought it’d be possible following the season-opener.
He’s “very proud” of everyone at McLaren and knows that they’re only going to get stronger, as they’ve “found the key pieces” of the puzzle.
“For us to catch Mercedes, for us to catch Ferrari in terms of pace…” Norris said, as reported by Autosport.
“We’ve been behind them for two years, they’ve not really taken any steps forward and we’ve taken a massive step forward, and there’s plenty more things that we know we can improve on. It’s a good time for us.
“A few more bits of the puzzle to put together but we found the key pieces. We know what direction to go in, so I’m really very proud of the whole team.
“If we were in Bahrain now and I looked ahead, I was dreading the season already. So, to come away with seven podiums and all the great moments we’ve had was definitely not expected.”