Jenson Button still questions Lando Norris' decision to sign a long-term contract with McLaren, insisting the Briton should be in a winning car at this stage of his career.
Last year, shortly after the start of the 2022 season, McLaren locked down Norris in a deal that extends until the 2025.
At the time, Button was surprised by the young gun's move given the mid-term and longer-term uncertainty surrounding McLaren's performance level.
One year later, the 2009 F1 world champion hasn't changed his view on Norris' situation.
"I was surprised when he signed a long-term deal," Button told Sky Sports.
"Because in this sport, you don’t know who’s at the front and you need to be in a winning car. Your talent is not enough to bring a car to the front.
"You know, you can help them develop, but you need to be in a competitive car that can win races and McLaren haven’t given them that."
Norris is on the eve of his fifth season with McLaren, and the 23-year-old is keeping his faith in the Woking-based outfit, convinced that he will at some point in the not too distant future reap the benefits of his patience.
Nevertheless, Button insists Norris should have been fighting for the world title by now.
"They’re doing well, but at this point in his career, he needs to be in a winning car," he added.
"So let's see what happens over the next couple of years, I really do hope that teams like McLaren, Alpine and Aston Martin will be closer to the top three and even challenging.
"That was the whole idea with the budget cap, and also the wind tunnel time that the top teams get a lot less when they perform well in a season for the next year.
"So hopefully we’re going to start seeing benefits from that in ‘23, ‘24 I think we’ll see it even more so."
This year, McLaren has brought in absolute beginner Oscar Piastri as Daniel Ricciardo's replacement. The young Aussie is highly rated and Button believes he could be a source of pressure for Norris, and vice versa.
"He [Norris] has got a lot of time on his hands," said the former McLaren charger. "He’s still young Lando, very quick, new team-mate in Piastri, who again is very talented.
"[It] puts a lot of pressure on both of them, you know, with Piastri coming into Formula 1 and jumping straight in a relatively competitive car."