Norris and Piastri believe McLaren can beat Red Bull “at certain times”

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by

Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri say they feel positive about their chances of beating Red Bull on occasion with their new McLaren this season.

The McLaren drivers combined for nine podium finishes during the 2023 season, equaling Ferrari and beating Mercedes and Aston Martin over the year.

However the team were unable to beat Red Bull to victory over the course of the year. On the sole occasion a McLaren driver finished ahead of both Red Bulls – Norris at the Singapore Grand Prix – he was narrowly beaten to victory by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jnr.

Speaking to media including RaceFans today, Norris said he feels McLaren could have opportunities to take the fight to Red Bull more often in 2024.

“If you were to say ‘are they beatable?’, you’re going to have to say ‘yes’,” Norris said. “I think we’re going to want to believe to say yes, because we were very close at certain times – and at certain times we did beat them.

“So the question is, can we beat them over a season? Because I think that’s going to be the challenging thing and I think that’s going to be very difficult to do with how well they’re performing. So [I’m] optimistic. Possible to beat them at certain times? I want to believe so, yeah.”

Team mate Piastri shares Norris’s belief that McLaren could be more formidable this season, but stressed the team must not lose sight of their rivals around them.

“You have to have the optimism that we can beat them [Red Bull],” Piastri said. “Like Lando said, we got very close at certain times – with some success in certain sessions. So I think if we can keep the same rate of development, then I think we can be very optimistic.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“I think we also have to be aware that it’s not just Red Bull we’re fighting as well. We were in a very intense battle with Mercedes and Ferrari, especially in the second half of the year. In terms of championship points in the second half of the season, it was incredibly close between us where all teams had a lot of success, at various stages. So I think we have to be aware it’s not just Red Bull that we’re fighting. I think there will be other top teams that are making progress as well.”

Despite the optimism of his drivers, team principal Andrea Stella believes that it will still be difficult for anyone to beat Red Bull in the early part of the year.

“I think, at the start of the season, my expectation is that Red Bull will keep enjoying some advantage,” Stella explained. “I say this because they didn’t develop the car very much last year and I would think it’s reasonable to expect that they will have accumulated some knowledge and development last year that we will be capitalised onto the 2024 car. That’s my expectation.

“Having said that, I think looking at ourselves, looking at McLaren, if – and I say ‘if’ – we keep the development rate that we have had in 2023 that hopefully we will have hopefully onto the 2024 car, if we can keep this development rate then I think we can be in a strong position.

“Whether that’s enough to challenge Red Bull, and the other top teams that certainly will have made good improvements, we will find out. But we think that this is a strong development rate but like I said, it’s now up to us to try and consolidate over time.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Become a RaceFans Supporter

RaceFans is run thanks in part to the generous support of its readers. By contributing £1 per month or £12 per year (or the same in whichever currency you use) you can help cover the costs of creating, hosting and developing RaceFans today and in the future.

Become a RaceFans Supporter today and browse the site ad-free. Sign up or find out more via the links below:

Formula 1

Browse all Formula 1 articles

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

8 comments on “Norris and Piastri believe McLaren can beat Red Bull “at certain times””

  1. Hopefully, more often than only occasionally, although the latter is more realistic expectation-wise.

  2. It would be great to see McLaren push to the front, with Ferrari close behind.

  3. I’m not going to go as far as saying the topic title is incorrect, but – being picky – the various statements of ‘belief’ are so conditional as to render them quite meaningless. e.g. “I want to believe..”, or “you have to have the optimism….”.

    Of course I am not suggesting they are going to “know” they can beat Red Bull, but this seems more like the generic kind of hope that you would consider a minimum for all of the top teams.

  4. McLaren may well find Red Bull to be beatable at certain times – mostly free practice sessions.

    1. Ferrari had a habit of “winning” those, maybe they can form some competition there.

  5. The only time McLaren beat RB was Qatar sprint qualifying and even then it was Piastri. And the sprint had lime 4 SC to allow Piastri to win. I wouldn’t read much into that.

    Singapore was another race but then RB messed it up well.

    So I don’t think McLaren really beat them on merit and as long as RB take a decent step they should be clear

    1. Mclaren started waaaaaay back last year, so if they have a decent off season I don’t see why they wouldn’t be closer to red bull on average over the season; if they drop the ball like ferrari and merc did last winter, then ofc they won’t be any closer.

  6. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
    15th February 2024, 13:50

    Well, if last year is anything to go by, then one of the Red Bulls should definitely be beatable fairly regularly, so there’s that.

    The other Red Bull, though …

Comments are closed.