Lando Norris is being rewarded for his patience with McLaren, as impressive mid-season updates have put the British team in regular contention for podium finishes. Looking forward, the 23-year-old is confident in the potential for success at Woking.
Andrea Stella’s appointment as team principal at the start of 2023 was met with mixed reactions, which is expected given the abrupt nature of Andreas Seidl’s departure to Audi.
In any case, the MCL60’s poor performance to start the year was consistent with the message of caution conveyed by McLaren over winter.
Missed development targets put the team on the backfoot when the lights went out in Bahrain, though Andrea Stella was adamant that upgrades would rectify the situation.
The notable, though far from spectacular, update package in Baku indicated that ‘best of the rest’ in the constructors was an achievable target for the team in 2023.
However, recent events have demonstrated the effectiveness of McLaren’s latest improvements – first introduced in Austria. Q3 appearances and even podium finishes are increasingly attainable for Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri.
Reflecting on the first half of the year, the British driver explained his commitment to achieving success with McLaren:
“I want to achieve my success and I want to achieve my goals with McLaren. That’s been my target since I’ve come here since I entered Formula 1 with this team,” he told Sky Sports.
“I think it’s a cooler story at the same time, to go from where we were a few years ago, a team that was really struggling.
“To fighting back and being that first team to really come back from a long way and fight for championships and wins.
“But the more we achieve things as we have done over the past few weeks, the more I’m very confident with the decision I made to stay until 2025.
“And the more confident I am that we can achieve our goals together in the future.”
The real test is yet to come for McLaren – consolidating themselves as front-runners will require sustained development and improvement.
Aston Martin’s struggles with the AMR23 should serve as a cautionary tale about the dangers of failing to introduce effective new parts – especially in the budget cap era.
As McLaren’s trajectory continues to go improve, the second half of the year will provide more information about the strengths and weaknesses of their new direction.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang