Lando Norris outlines season McLaren aim to be F1 title challengers

McLaren still have plenty of work to do in catching Red Bull

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Lando Norris says McLaren are targeting 2025 to mount a championship challenge after improving their infrastructure at their factory.

McLaren introduced a new wind-tunnel and simulator that has aided their latest development, but Norris expects the main benefit to happen in 2025 once the team has had enough time to understand the new technology.

In 2021 the Briton signed a contract extension until the end of 2025 with the Woking team, amidst interest from Red Bull marking a significant placement of trust in the team he has been partnered with since his rookie season.

Once again, Red Bull appeared to be interested in signing him as a potential replacement for Sergio Perez, but earlier in the season he reaffirmed his desire to win with McLaren. His loyalty is only likely to have grown following the team’s massive leap forwards since the Austrian Grand Prix.

“There’s a difference of having everything in place versus having everything in your hands,” Norris said to the media ahead of the Dutch GP. “The people who are coming, the guys from Red Bull, the people from Ferrari and having the wind tunnel by that point doing as it should and having the simulator doing as it should.

“It’s still then a bit of time to extract everything from the stuff we’ve got. I think there’s a difference between turning that into actual lap-time on the car, which is not something we’re going to be able to start next season with.

“But maybe something we can end, or build up to, in 2024 and be more likely to have a chance in 2025.”

Max Verstappen, Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri after qualifying for the 2023 British GP | Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Norris predicts similar performance to Hungary

McLaren impressed in Hungary, fractionally missing out on pole position as Norris and Oscar Piastri lined up third and fourth on the grid.

The team then looked good to convert the result into a double podium until floor damage on Piastri’s car saw him slip out of contention although Norris managed to finish in second.

As a high-downforce circuit that isn’t reliant on straight-line speed, the British driver predicts a return to form following a tough weekend in Spa at the start of August.

“This track is a little bit back in line with Buadpest,” Norris added to the media. “So there is no reason why we can’t continue with where we were prior to Spa.

“I think Spa was a bit of an outlier with efficiency, which we just didn’t have, because so much time and effort has been put into making the car good for 90% of the circuits rather than the other 10%, which includes Spa.

“I think so [on winning a race], you’ve got to have a lot of luck or something’s got to happen to Max [Verstappen] from a reliability point of view for it to happen.

“I think it’s going to be hard for us to win at this point, I don’t have the confidence to say that we can race him outright.

Where is the next F1 2023 race?

F1 will return from its summer break with the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix from Zandvoort on August 25-27, where championship leader Max Verstappen will be racing on home soil.

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