Lando Norris points to Aston Martin and Ferrari for the path which McLaren must follow

Michelle Foster
Lando Norris puts in the laps in the McLaren MCL60. Saudi Arabia March 2023

British driver Lando Norris puts in the laps in the McLaren MCL60. Saudi Arabia March 2023

Conceding McLaren are not where they want to be, that would be “towards the top”, Lando Norris has urged his team to draw inspiration from Aston Martin and Ferrari’s recent leaps forward.

Down in sixth place in 2021 and without a win in two seasons, Ferrari were back on the top step of the podium last season and finished second in the Constructors’ Championship with four wins on the board.

Fast forward to 2023 and it’s Aston Martin who have made a big leap, the team going from seventh in last season’s Constructors’ standings to the podium at this year’s curtain-raiser in Bahrain.

And if they can do it, Norris sees no reason McLaren cannot follow suit.

“Where did I want to be? It’s clear, but where we all want to be is clear: we want to be towards the top,” said the 23-year-old.

“I think that’s everyone’s dream, it’s every team’s dream in the whole grid but when you’re realistic, it’s between where we are now and those top four teams currently.

“So I think what Aston have done is this clear example and what Ferrari did between ’21 and ‘22 was a clear example of what we need to achieve and want to achieve.

“And it’s clear that it’s achievable. So we just got to go out and do it.

“I think we have the people, we have so many things that we need. We’re not doing a good enough job with what we have but we all know that and we know that we have some more things coming but at the same time, we have to do better than what we’re doing currently.”

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Norris was 11th fastest in Friday’s second practice for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the Briton a second down on Max Verstappen’s pace-setting time.

But he may have to wait until 2025 to join the Red Bull driver at the sharp end of the field with McLaren investing in new infrastructure including a wind tunnel. The effects of that, the team has admitted, won’t truly be felt before they put out the 2025 car.

“Infrastructure always helps,” says Norris, “but we should be doing better than we are now with what we have. That’s also clear. We’ll see.

“I think there’s things you can achieve during the season. Harder to achieve them during the season than during the winter but there’s no huge changes.

“It’s not like we need to change philosophy or change car or anything like that. A lot of what we have already is working well, what we have in the wind tunnel and what we have on track is correlating well at the same time and we have obviously a lot of new things coming.

“A lot of it in Formula 1 is time. You’re always against it but at the same time you always need it and and sometimes you just have to be patient still. So that’s what we’re doing.

“Everyone’s working very hard from that side of things. There’s nothing that they’re doing that I would say that we’re not in terms of going out to achieve what we want to achieve. So we’ll stick to our plan and that’s good enough for me.”