Lando Norris believes F1 2023 was his best season yet, his hard work behind the progress including crunching the data from his time as team-mate to Daniel Ricciardo and even Carlos Sainz.
Norris made his Formula 1 debut with McLaren in 2019 as an academy graduate, his talent clear from the get-go, though F1 2023 felt like a major step forward in the career of the British racer.
With nine podiums scored across a vastly-improved campaign for the team, Norris accounted for seven of those as McLaren took a giant first step towards their ambition of challenging for titles in Formula 1 once more.
Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo data boosted Lando Norris
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Norris woud shed some light on the triggers for his progress in F1 2023, branding it his “best” year in the series yet.
And to move forward, he took a trip back to analyse the data of not only Ricciardo, whom he partnered from 2021-22, but also that of his first McLaren team-mate Sainz, as well as the data of McLaren’s impressive F1 2023 rookie Oscar Piastri of course.
“I’m not going to say the secrets of it or whatever, just a lot of simulator is probably one of the biggest things,” said Norris as he discussed the work behind his progress.
“But also time on looking into the data against me and Daniel, me and Oscar, even me and Carlos.
“We went back that far to kind of understand what I was doing good and bad then, what he was doing good and bad then, and same for Daniel and same for Oscar now. Just work, basically.
“I think it’s been my best year.
“I think it’s been our best year as a team. I guess a lot it’s just for the obvious reasons – the success that we’ve been able to have from after the start that we’ve had.
“I think there’s been a lot of great performances – both in terms of just racing through and having some good ones. Mexico [where he went from P17 to P5] probably being the highlight of all of that.”
McLaren team boss Andrea Stella, who took over ahead of the F1 2023 campaign, was full of praise for Norris after his most productive season in the series to date.
However, when told that Stella had claimed Norris had the understanding of the MCL60, Pirelli tyres and the ability to adapt to the conditions in the effort to stay with the dominant Max Verstappen, Norris replied: “I still have to adapt every weekend.
“I’m still not super comfortable every weekend on [thinking], ‘the car is going to do this this weekend and it does that’, half the time it doesn’t.
“So then I’m sort of like, ‘Ok, now I need to drive it a bit more like this’ and all of these things.
“Formula 1 I think is often always too shortly judged. If one driver has two good weekends in a row they’re like ‘oh, he’s back’. But the next weekend then it’s gone again and it’s [the opposite].
“So, I think I’ve always had some good races every now and then, but when I look at it as a season, on ‘out of all of these races’, a lot more consistently I was delivering on the Sunday.
“No matter the conditions, no matter if it was hot or cold or if the car was really quick or struggled a bit more, or if the set-up was where I wanted it or where it wasn’t, if I started at the front or the back – I could always kind of make the most of whatever situation I was in.
“And I think that’s the thing I’ve improved on this year. [It] was being able to adapt even more to all of these different scenarios and different conditions that challenge you.”
Norris is under contract with McLaren until the end of 2025.