McLaren have made incredible progress through 2023 and jumped above Aston Martin in the constructors’ championship, despite opening the season by finishing better than 8th on one occasion before their major upgrades at the Austrian GP in July.
At that stage they trailed their British rivals by 137 points, but following the United States GP they are now six points ahead and were in contention for the win at the British GP, Singapore GP and Sunday’s race in Texas.
“Do I think our best chances have gone? I will say yes,” Norris said to media after the race. “I think Qatar was our best chance of winning a race and we missed out on that one.
“I don’t wanna say no, I don’t say never. I think there’s no super-high-speed, Suzuka-style circuits, Qatar-style circuits left, which is where we’re strong.
“If you looked at the GPS and the overlays of how how bad we are in the slow-speed corners, I’m not looking forward to Brazil. I think we’re going to be pretty shocking there.”
Norris outlines the final two hopes
McLaren did manage to take a victory in 2023 through Oscar Piastri at the Qatar Sprint Race but they have failed to realize any pace they had on a Sunday.
They had some potential at the Belgian GP but their set-up gamble on wet weather in the Sunday race didn’t work as the rain never materialized and they struggled due to the extra drag in dry conditions.
With the ultra high-downforce, high-speed tracks pretty much concluded in this campaign, McLaren‘s main strength of being quick in those corner profiles are not a core demand of upcoming races which plays more into the hands of Red Bull and Mercedes.
Despite feeling like his best shot has gone, the British racer did identify two places where McLaren could potentially fight for the victory, or at least be closer to it, but the team’s sights are primarily set on maximizing their Constructors’ Championship position.
“Maybe Abu Dhabi, you never know,” Norris continued. “We’ll see. I don’t think there are any good ones for us coming up. I think our best have kind of gone now.
“I just want to be hopeful that we can get good results and I think we can still fight for podiums, but these guys [Verstappen and Hamilton] were too quick for me. They’ve been, I would say, say quicker all weekend on average.
“We just about kept up in qualifying. When we have that new rubber and super low fuel and things like that, we can look decent but I think realistically we’re not at the same level as a general package as these guys.
“So yeah, not great ones [tracks] coming up, but Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi are probably the better ones.”