Norris teases 'plenty more' to come from McLaren

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren on the grid. 29.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 20, Mexican Grand Prix, Mexico City, Mexico, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Bearne / XPB Images
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McLaren is without doubt the most improved team of the current season, but driver Lando Norris says the squad has "plenty more things to come" in 2024 to keep the renaissance going in the new year.

The team had a terrible start to the season and failed to score points in five of the first eight races of 2023, and was only sixth in the constructors championship trailing Alpine after the Canadian GP.

McLaren bosses admitted that their technical team had missed a key opportunity arising from minor changes to rules and regulations, and scrambled to cover that off with mid-season upgrades first introduced in Austria.

Since then the team has improved by leaps and bounds and is now ahead of Aston Martin vying to secure P4 in the standings. Norris took five podium places in the past six races, with two more for his rookie team-mate Oscar Piastri.

The dominance of Max Verstappen has prevented them from taking a win, but both drivers have come close and McLaren has consistently proven to be the main competition to Red Bull having leap-frogged Ferrari and Mercedes.

The question now is whether they can continue their rate of improvement to being themselves within range of beating Verstappen and Red Bull next year, with Norris insisting that this is the plan.

"Since we bought this upgrade to Austria, I've been the second highest scoring driver on the grid," he pointed out, adding that he'd mentioned this data point to Verstappen on a recent podium.

"I think we've been the second highest scoring team, potentially," he added. "Considering we’re talking about fighting the Red Bull, I think it's still a very, very good thing what we've achieved this year.

"We're talking about one of the best drivers in Formula 1 ever, in one of the most dominating cars," he insisted. "We've taken some massive steps forward.

"For us to go from where we were in Bahrain to getting close and talking about fighting a Red Bull, I think are very good signs for us.

"We know we still have plenty more things to come next year, so I'm excited," he continued. "There’s no point thinking of it until next year, but I'll be optimistic. I believe we can do it as a team."

Next year's car development will be boosted by McLaren's new wind tunnel facility coming on line over the summer just im time toi help the designers in their task.

There will also be new personnel at Woking, although the arrival of Rob Marshall from Red Bull after a period of 'gardening leave' will come too late to play a significant role in next year's contender.

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren. 05.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

But whether any of this will be enough to make a dent in Red Bull's huge dominance over McLaren and all the other teams in F1 remains to be seen.

"Where you are with next year's car partly depends on where you are this year, because that's the starting point for everyone," said Andrea Stella, who became McLaren team principal at the start of the year.

"But the gradient as development that you have for six, seven months is much more important," he added.

"The work that we are currently doing in terms of aerodynamic, mechanical development is much more important than the starting point," he said. "You have such a long period which is just about the work you do on next year's car."

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