2022 was another successful year for young McLaren star Lando Norris, with the 23-year-old finishing as the best of the rest driver and being the only man outside of the top three teams to score a podium.
One thing that does elude the Brit however is his first race win, with Norris being forced to watch his close friends George Russell and Carlos Sainz pick up their first wins last year, while he still rues his missed opportunity in Russia.
The 2021 Russian Grand Prix saw Norris leading a hectic race as the drivers entered the final laps but a mix-up in communication about incoming rain saw the McLaren driver struggle to stay on the track on slicks, while Lewis Hamilton, who had pitted for intermediates, was able to easily pass him.
Norris has been linked to a move to Red Bull to partner Max Verstappen in the future, should McLaren not be able to provide their star with a car capable of winning races, and McLaren CEO Zak Brown has put a timeline on this project.
The American has claimed that it will take the team until the 2025 season at least to be able to challenge for championships, as McLaren’s new state-of-the-art wind tunnel facility will start to pay dividends in terms of car performance by this time.
Luckily for McLaren, it appears that Lando Norris agrees with this timeline and is happy to honour his long-term contract with the team to see if they can fulfil this promise.
“With everything I’ve learned, maybe I could win a race, but I’m unlikely to win a championship until [2024 or 2025],” to told GQ Magazine.
“I know I need to be at the absolute top of my game in those years [to be in title contention].”
The 23-year-old will face a much different challenge this year, as it will be the first time that he will be the senior driver in the team, having previously been partnered with Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo.
Rookie Oscar Piastri has joined the team to replace Ricciardo, who was struggling to match Norris during his two years with the team, and the 21-year-old has also been tipped as a star of the future.
Norris will now be expected to lead McLaren both on and off the track in 2023, putting much more responsibility on the shoulders of a young man who has exceeded every expectation of him so far in his F1 career.