Lando Norris, McLaren, Singapore, 2023

McLaren’s 2023 turnaround convinced Norris he can fight for title with them

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In the round-up: Lando Norris says he’s “more confident than ever” that he can win a world title with McLaren

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In brief

McLaren’s 2023 pivot gives Norris confidence

Lando Norris, who just signed a contract extension with McLaren, says the team’s reversal of fortunes in 2023 – where they went from near the back of the grid to regular podiums, helped convince him he could fight for a title with them.

“I think the turnaround was a big part of it, of course,” Norris said.

“If we didn’t score podiums and we had as bad of a start as what we did last year, then of course there’s going to be even more questions. With how things went with what I believe we have coming and the confidence of having the whole team over the next few years – and going into a refresh which is ’26, where so many things change.

“Really, there’s not many other things that you can be guaranteed on or assured of with any team. So at that same time, it comes back to where I will be. Where will I be happiest? And now where am I most confident that I can actually achieve a world championship? If you asked me at the beginning of last year, maybe it wouldn’t have been McLaren. But now, I think I’m more confident than ever in saying it’s going to be McLaren.”

Daytona 24 ends in timing confusion

The Daytona 24 Hours ended in confusion when the chequered flag appeared to be shown too early.

The IMSA endurance race was won by the number seven Porsche Penske of Feipe Nasr, Josef Newgarden, Matt Campbell and Dane Campbell by just two seconds ahead of the number 31 Cadillac of Tom Blomqvist, Jack Aitken and Pipo Derani. However, the chequered flag was shown to the winners with over 90 seconds of race time still on the timer, leading to a controversial conclusion to the race.

Bilinski extends FROC lead

Roman Bilinski won a red flagged third race at Manfeild to move further ahead of Christian Mansell in the Formula Regional Oceania Championship in New Zealand.

Mansell won the second race of the weekend but Bilinski made it four wins from the first six races of the championship to move 18 points ahead in the standings.

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Comment of the day

This weekend’s Caption Competition winner is Only Facts!:

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Circuit of the Americas, 2023

“This is the proper way to get a tow from the ‘Bulls’!”
Only Facts!

Thanks to everyone who came up with caption ideas this week and a special mention to Steve, Red Andy, Wheel Nut and Derek Edwards who all came up with particularly good captions.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Graeme, Hazel J, Mpj1994, Shery, Southpawracer, Hester Burger, William and Jack !

On this day in motorsport

  • On this day in 1994 McLaren launched the Peugeot-powered MP4/9. However the team was on course for its first win-less season in 14 years.

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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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13 comments on “McLaren’s 2023 turnaround convinced Norris he can fight for title with them”

  1. Somehow, “The Daytona 23 Hours 58 Minutes and 30 Seconds” doesn’t quite roll off the tongue.

    1. :-) Maybe “Daytona almost 24Hrs” would work?

    2. The 2024 24-ish Hours Of Daytona maybe works …

    3. Unacceptable. They should re-run the race.

  2. Norris is a good catch for mclaren. Re championships, it will be fascinating to see if his confidence is well placed however. I hope so.

  3. As a Ferrari fan, I’d like to convey to Norris that winning the world championship requires more than just a competitive car. This assumption is based on the belief that McLaren will match RBR’s competitiveness over an entire season, which I highly doubt. Progressing in the right direction this year doesn’t guarantee the same leap forward the following year. Gaining lap time becomes exceedingly challenging once you’re near the top.

    Besides, RBR haven’t shown all of their potential. It’s evident that once they secured the championship, their attention shifted towards the 2024 project. Additionally, the RB19 has demonstrated competitiveness on all sort of tracks, in all conditions, and with all tyre compounds. This versatility is not yet mirrored by McLaren, which still has a considerable distance to cover in that regard.

    Furthermore, I doubt McLaren can equal RBR in terms of operations and strategy. Not to mention, Verstappen is even more effective than both Lewis and Vettel when it comes to delivering results in a competitive car. It pains me to say this but for the moment the only team that can match RBR over a season and mount a serious championship challenge is Mercedes.

    1. It pains me to say this but for the moment the only team that can match RBR over a season and mount a serious championship challenge is Mercedes

      That will be possible only if they start the season with a competitive car.

      1. I get what you are saying there, and yeah, I am not at all convinced that McLaren REALLY are at the level to execute the season at the level that Norris sees as reason to stay.

        On the other hand, I think that it is probably a combination of seeing that hope they will be able to AND the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any team openings where he would have BETTER chance, since there is no spot to step in for him at Mercedes (I agree that is the team that is closest to the level needed in terms of operations, provided they can come out with the car they need to make that count) and stepping in at Red Bull would only mean he becomes the better version of Perez at the team, only there to support and push Max to maximize his performance.

        So in that light, I get that Norris sees enough at McLaren to not risk something like waiting for Audi or somehow Ferrari getting their act together in 3 years from now.

        1. Agreed with both of you, what’s more is that both Ferrari and Mercedes spend very little time developing their failed concepts and will not be so easy to surpass this season (unless they once again mess up, which I hope for everyone’s sake is not a thing that’ll happen). McLaren had a great turnaround last season, but it’s very much up in the air if their #2 position (during the end of the season) wasn’t aided quite a bit by outside factors.

      2. In my eyes McLaren is the team that improved the most in recent seasons and looks like they are operating better than Mercedes at this point. It is not only car development during the season, strategy wise they are solid, and they started doing really consistent fast pit stops. So looks like they have organisation that is managing to improve on quite a lot of aspects.

        It is the only team that is getting close to the operational excellence seen by Red Bull.

        But after the flop in last season start who knows :D Still my gut is telling me McLaren will be more adaptable than Mercedes in the recent years.

  4. The issue with F1/Moto GP sharing weekends is that not every fan of one is going to be a fan of the other (I for example don’t like bike racing so wouldn’t have much interest in watching MotoGp).

    And so your going to have 2 fanbases trying to get tickets for one weekend rather than 2 separate weekends which is going to make it harder for fans of each to get tickets.

    1. Which means higher ticket prices due to higher sanction fees – a dream come true for both series’ commercial interests.
      Their only real sticking point is their TV and sponsorship contracts – which is why it’ll almost certainly never happen.

      Don’t worry, most of the bike enthusiasts couldn’t care less about F1, either.
      Meanwhile at many existing F1 events, it’s very common for people to buy F1 tickets only for the music concerts and don’t even turn up until the on-track sessions stop for the day…

  5. You all have some valid points to make BUT, you seem to forget that there is a huge amount of talent and experience behind the scenes at McLaren, where championships were being won while Mercedes were a fledgling team desperate to build a successful team and failing miserably even with Schuey in a seat.
    Red Bull hadn’t even been a concept back then and only the appearance of Adrian Newey McLaren fame from brought them success.

    If Norris is unsuccessful this coming season, them McLaren will pull out all the stops for either of their drivers to be in a Championship winning car by 2025. That’s the goal in fact, to put themselves in that position before both drivers’ depart/or win.

    I still carry a torch for another successful season to come, as they have so many times before.

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