Norris excited that McLaren are “finally on the right track”

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In the round-up: Lando Norris believes that McLaren are heading in the right direction as a team

In brief

McLaren “finally on the right track” – Norris

McLaren driver Lando Norris says he is looking forward to the start of 2024 after the progress his team made through this season.

After a poor start to the season, McLaren enjoyed a rapid progression to finish fourth in the constructors’ championship by the end of the year.

“We’re on the right track,” Norris said. “We have some new hirings and the guys are coming in ’24. So maybe not everything that they can bring to us we can have on the car straightaway, but there’s some things that we just already know now.

“We’ve learned so really over the last four, five, six months. So the progress we’ve made, we’ve learned a lot. So I’m excited just because we’re finally on the right track and we know which direction to push and I just want to start the season off well. If we can start well in Bahrain then I’ll be a lot more excited.”

Hamilton’s third-place trophy misplaced

The trophy that Lewis Hamilton received at the FIA Prize Giving Gala in Baku on Friday for finishing third in the world championship standings appears to have fallen out of possession of the Mercedes driver in bizarre circumstances.

A user on X (formerly Twitter) by the username @nihadcelona posted on Saturday that they had possession of Hamilton’s third-place trophy after attending the gala. They originally claimed that Hamilton “gave me the award and left“, before Mercedes issued a statement on Sunday clarifying that Hamilton had left the trophy in the care of the FIA and that he had not gifted the prize to anyone.

In a second post, the user claimed that he had asked Hamilton “if I could take the prize“, to which Hamilton did. “But now,” the user continued, “after seeing the statement from Mercedes, I understand that Lewis did not gift me the award. He mistakenly thought I was the FIA official in charge of the award.”

Not winning Le Mans “difficult to accept” – Buemi

World Endurance champion Sebastien Buemi admits it is “difficult to accept” that his Toyota team failed to win this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours.

Buemi and number eight Toyota team mates Ryo Hirakawa and Brendon Hartley were officially crowed WEC champions on Friday. They and their number seven Toyota team mates won every round of this year’s championship, except the Le Mans 24 Hours, which was won by Ferrari following an adjustment in the Balance of Performance prior to the marquee event.

“I think at the end we did a pretty good race,” Buemi recalled. “No real mistakes.

“Obviously, Ferrari was a bit quicker than us. It’s true that we’ve been dominating the season and we didn’t win that very important race. But again, I think we’ve learned a lot and we’ll try to come back stronger next year. At the end, I think we won the championship because we were consistent, but it’s true that not winning Le Mans is difficult to accept, obviously.”

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Comment of the day

After our pick of the top ten Formula 2 drivers of 2023, reader Laz feels it wasn’t an outstanding season for talent…

Overall I guess I was a little underwhelmed by the F2 field this year, and can see why no one was promoted to F1 again. No one really stood out, everyone had some significant draw backs in their season that would make any team hesitate in promoting them. That top seven on this list are all good drivers, but none of them have made a strong enough case compared to those around them.

From what I’ve seen I am impressed with Bearman’s speed, but he makes to many errors. Vesti impressed me too there were just too many silly errors thrown in there that he needs to cut out. And Iwasa was the other driver that I liked the look of but ultimately his qualifying kept letting him down.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Debaser91, Ryan and Miguel Bento!

On this day in motorsport

  • On this day in 2003 Michael Schumacher raced a Eurofighter jet in his Ferrari Formula 1 car

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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14 comments on “Norris excited that McLaren are “finally on the right track””

  1. “I spend my life on aircraft, at least a month each year, in terms of hours. I only spend 11 months of the year on the ground. The rest is spent in the air.”

    As someone who’s never flown, it’s always shocking when I see how much others fly. Even putting aside the carbon footprint, it’s quite a two-tiered society, at least.

    And I cannot believe that the pilots were the only fatalities in that plane crash. Unbelievable pictures!

    1. I’m rather surprised some people still have never air travelled these days, even once.

      1. According to google only less than 20 percent of the world’s population has ever taken a single flight!

      2. Well, small sample size, but we’re 4 in my family and none of us ever took a flight, so even if the next person took a flight you still have only 20% who did.

  2. Another reason F1 need more teams: a lot of potential good drivers dont find a clear option in one of the current 20 seats and lose momentum on further chances.
    Not sure if Pourchaire is one of those lost potential, but there seem not to be an alternative if the driver dont find an immediate position. Contracts last 3-4 years and no seat is available on the timespan. Either no one will remember a F2 champion from 2 years ago, or a new prospect will take priority.
    This is aggravated by the fact that 2-3 drivers (+10% of the grid) shouldnt be there anymore.

    1. For many (most) drivers who really care about racing and competition, not being in F1 is very much a blessing in disguise.
      Pourchaire will have a massively more rewarding racing experience in SF than he likely ever would in F1.

      And as O’Ward notes – F1 is different to other, more sporting-focused, series in its priorities and atmosphere. F1 is marketing and money-making first and foremost – cars going around tracks is merely the medium for that transfer of cash and exposure.

      1. The kick of driving an F1 car is apparently enough* for many to give up the competitive goals they had when coming up through the ranks. We can already say with close to 100% certainty that there will only be one, two or – very unlikely – three people in F1 who have any chance at the big prize in 2024. And in 2025. And in 2026. It’s been this way since at least the early 1980s. And even before then it was often true.

        *That, and the money. For some reason, F1 pays even drivers who won’t win any races very well.

        A lot of F1 drivers could do very well in other series. Not because having being in F1 makes them super special, but because they’ll have cars that can fight for wins. Just like everyone else.

    2. Curious, which 2-3 drivers should not be there any more?

      1. Valterri Bottas, Lance Stroll, Logan Sargeant….shall I go on ??

  3. I certainly hope they can start next season on roughly the same performance level as from Austrian GP onwards to have as many teams as possible battling towards the front throughout the season.

    What a mess with the third-place trophy.

  4. Dear,
    Please share the sources of quotes and stories.
    The Norris quotes sound very familiar, and indeed they are quotes from the AD post race press conference.
    Similarly the Speedcafe article is fully based on Norris’ quotes after the Abu Dhabi (but they also fail to mention that). Nice to have some Aussie sources here though.
    You used to be very meticulous regarding mentioning sources; even refused to share stories without the original source.
    What’s the use of a daily round-up if it’s based on ‘old news’?

  5. About COTD while true I feel Martins has come stronger than most front runners in the second half of the season, while being a rookie against far more experienced drivers. I definitely have high hopes for him next year, but agreed generally we’ve seen no Piastri-like performances this year.

  6. If I was Lewis I would demand my trophy back….
    Then I would give it to that guy again ;)

  7. Balance of Performance is unfair and allows for gaming the system when one race is worth much more than the others. A team might be crushing the season and yet lose the most important race. And teams can intentionally underperform at lesser races to have a much better chance for the big one.

Comments are closed.