that includingEven if McLaren continue with their impressive gains, former F1 team boss Eddie Jordan fears Max Verstappen will continue to shut down victory chances for Lando Norris long-term.
Verstappen and his Red Bull team are obliterating the competition so far in F1 2023, the team boasting a perfect record so far of 12 grand prix wins from 12, with Verstappen scoring 10 of them, including his current streak of eight victories in a row.
McLaren though have joined Mercedes, Ferrari, and Aston Martin in that chasing pack behind Red Bull and are looking to unlock performance to take the fight to Red Bull.
David Coulthard backs Lando Norris to win with McLaren
After Aston Martin surged out of the lower midfield to start F1 2023 as the second-fastest team, McLaren then took their turn at making huge gains with their upgrade programme and went from battling to break into the points to podium finishers.
David Coulthard believes his former team McLaren genuinely have “turned the corner” and can take Norris, who scored back-to-back P2 finishes at Silverstone and Hungaroring, to victory for the first time in his F1 career.
“I think actually McLaren have turned the corner, I think that they are coming good again,” said Coulthard on the Formula For Success podcast.
“And yes, he [Norris] did commit a multi-year contract to them. He would be an asset for any Formula 1 team, so I’m sure that all of the other top teams are well aware of what his contractual terms are.
“But if they keep going, the way they’re going right now, then I see Lando winning grands prix at McLaren.”
Eddie Jordan fears Max Verstappen will thwart Lando Norris
While the prospect of Norris or any non-Red Bull driver taking the fight to Verstappen before F1 2023 is over appears very slim, if not impossible, McLaren will be hoping to continue their solid upward trajectory by emerging as a serious threat in F1 2024.
It was by 2025 that the team had targeted a return to the title scene, but Jordan worries that Verstappen, “fast emerging to be the greatest driver of all team”, has the victory scene on lockdown for many years to come, meaning Norris’ chance is at risk of coming and going.
“Hmm, winning grands prix at McLaren, first they have to overcome Red Bull,” said Jordan in response to Coulthard’s suggestion.
“And the next biggest hurdle after that is the likes of Max Verstappen, which is not going to be an easy task, never. He’s fast emerging to be the greatest driver of all time. I think there’s no doubt about that.
“Or certainly what’s going on at the moment is simply spectacular. He’s very together and obviously, we wish him wealth and health and everything to go with his future career.
“But I think in five years’ time, if the good Lord spares us, we’d be saying, ‘my God, we lived through Max Verstappen, wasn’t that the most amazing years of all time’.”
That being said, Jordan was keen to praise both Norris and McLaren with the former Jordan Grand Prix boss taking great pleasure from seeing McLaren make strides in identifying and fixing the problems that had largely left them stuck in the midfield in recent times.
He does though suspect that a P2 finish in the F1 2023 Constructors’ Championship may be beyond them, with Mercedes, currently occupying that spot, 144 points ahead with 10 rounds to go.
“Back to Lando, I have to say that he has surprised me, and the car in particular, McLaren, I’ve been very critical of McLaren in the past, so full marks to them,” said Jordan.
“That’s what I love to see, somebody who can actually get a grip of something, see where the errors are and see where the problems are, and emerge at the other end. And McLaren have made the right choice.
“What do we see in the future for the remainder of the year? I think McLaren are going to be very strong, and it’s intrigued me, I’m trying to see if are they too far back? Are they able to match up with Mercedes, or indeed Aston Martin, are they able to catch up that point deficit to make sure that they can finish second in the Championship? And my gut feeling is no.”
Eddie Jordan desperate for McLaren to keep current drivers
As much as Norris has been impressive in F1 2023, there has also been no shortage of praise for his rookie team-mate Oscar Piastri, who in the much-improved MCL60, is showing exactly why McLaren went through the expense of an early split from Daniel Ricciardo.
Piastri fell just 0.011s short of denying Verstappen sprint pole last time out in Belgium, before scoring a P2 finish in the event, and Jordan believes that the best bet for Norris and Piastri in their respective futures is to stay with McLaren, both drivers having been linked with a potential future switch to Red Bull.
“I am super impressed with Lando’s team-mate [Piastri], so that’s a lovely team,” Jordan stated.
“If I was to put my wish on my wishlist, I would want those two drivers to stay there, combine, grow, and create the foundation that makes great teams, because they are all together in this and I think the future is very bright for both of them.
“Please, Lando, my wish to you is stay where you are, you’re not going to find much better.”
The task for Verstappen’s pursuers will get no easier when the season resumes, as it does so with the Dutch Grand Prix, Verstappen’s home race, on August 27.
There, he will look to equal the record currently held by Sebastian Vettel with an eighth win in a row.