Lando Norris doesn’t expect McLaren can break out of F1’s midfield in 2023, but said he’s committed to the team and expects them to improve for 2024 and 2025.
Norris agreed a four-year contract extension ahead of the 2022 season but McLaren suffered a disappointing campaign, finishing fifth in the constructors’ championship and only managing one podium to bring three years of progress to a juddering halt.
In the offseason McLaren‘s team principal Andreas Seidl left to head up Audi‘s entry into F1 for 2026 and there’s been speculation Norris could follow him, but the Brit said he believed in McLaren to start challenging regularly at the front of the grid within three years.
“I don’t see us being able to fight for wins much this season,” Norris told the media, including Total-Motorsport.com at McLaren‘s 2023 season launch.
“We just need to give ourselves a very solid position to go into next year, hopefully we’ll be the leading team of the midfield and be the pioneers of leading the way to closing that gap to the top three teams over 2024-25.
“I signed such a long contract because I believe that those later years are when I’m going to be able to achieve things. If I signed a short contract that’s like I have the faith, I think that the team should suddenly win this year or last year, which just wasn’t you know, it’s not reality at all.”
What are Norris’ hopes for 2024?
McLaren have a series of infrastructure projects coming online in 2023 to help drive development for 2024 and beyond. The headline additions to Woking are their new wind tunnel and simulator, both crucial now wind tunnel time is regulated by the FIA based on championship position.
“That’s something we are lacking in at the moment,” Norris added. “So a lot of things that we can do great, and I believe we are doing great, there’s just certain things which don’t allow us to quite perform at that same level.
“So when we can, I guess there’s kind of no excuses to have left but I think now we have valid reasons for not being able to perform at quite the same level as some of the top teams.
“But yeah 2024, 2025 is when I believe we should be able to make those bigger steps. And that’s why I signed that contract is because I believe that’s when we will have those chances.”