Norris on McLaren winning races: ‘Not any time soon!’

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Lando Norris believes McLaren is still not in a position to win on merit in F1 as the team first needs to address its car’s limitations.

McLaren is currently third in F1’s Constructors’ standings, 51 points adrift from runner-up Ferrari, a situation that reflects its spot in the running order in terms of car performance.

McLaren team boss Andrea Stella recently stated that he was confident that the Woking-based outfit can bridge the gap to the Scuderia in the near-term thanks to its development programme, after which the team can think about taking on Red Bull and winning races.

Norris acknowledged the potential for race wins, but emphasized that it's conditional on the team significantly improving its MCL38 contender.

“Not any time soon that’s for sure,” Norris commented when asked about McLaren’s victory prospects. “I think we can. Right place, right time. I think if we improve the car where we need to.

“Honestly, there weren’t too many frustrations with Suzuka.

“Everything went pretty much as expected. I don’t think we did a perfect job and we probably should have finished one place higher up potentially, but I don’t think it was far off.”

Norris doesn't dwell on frustrations but acknowledges there are known weaknesses that need to be addressed.

“We’ve been in the same place all season,” he added. “We’ve been behind Red Bull, Ferrari and a bit of a step ahead of the other two teams come the race. That’s exactly how last weekend went.

“We know the issues, we know what we have to improve and we know if we can improve them, Andrea is right, if we can, we can win races this year. That’s an if.

“We have to work hard in some of these certain areas that have been a big challenge for us over the last many years. If we can then I am confident we can have some good races.”

In Japan, Stella warned that McLaren would approach its return to Shanghai this weekend in damage limitation mode due to the venue’s characteristics, notably its collection of slow-speed corners, a major weakness for the team’s MCL38.

“The long corners, just like Turn 1, this type of corner isn’t good for us - similar to Zandvoort. That kind of experience for us,” confirmed Norris.

“We’ve got some things to try and we’re constantly trying to improve these areas. This area we know is one of our biggest weaknesses.

“We get away with it in qualifying but especially into the race it becomes a bigger problem for us.”

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