If Ferrari can bounce back from a win-less season to be the second-best team under the new ground effect aerodynamic regulations, Lando Norris says there is no reason McLaren cannot set the same goal.
Formula 1 introduced brand new cars last season, making sweeping changes to the technical regulations with the intention of putting cars on the track that created a cleaner wake that would allow the car behind to follow more easily than their predecessors.
Despite the new regulations the sport’s top three remained the same, just a change in the order with Red Bull winning both championships ahead of Ferrari and Mercedes.
But while Ferrari failed to win either championship, they did at least win grands prix, four flags mounted outside the team’s Maranello headquarters.
Charles Leclerc’s P1 at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix marked Ferrari’s first race win since 2019 and Norris is taking inspiration from it.
According to the Briton, if Ferrari can capitalise on the new regulations to once again become race winners, there’s no reason McLaren shouldn’t set themselves the same target.
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“That’s achievable,” he declared to Motorsport.com. “I think what they did was extremely good.
“Going from where they were [in 2021], from almost getting beat by us, to going to where they are getting wins, fighting for podiums every single weekend… That’s what we need to be aiming for.
“That level of a jump from one season to another.
“They’ve obviously had, not the luck, but they’ve maximised a new era, a new rules set for Formula 1 with new cars, which has allowed them to make a bigger jump than ever.
“But there’s still plenty of opportunities for us to achieve something like that.
“And that’s where we need to be setting our goals for.”
The 23-year-old says McLaren simply need to do better, saying the “fact is, we have to do a better job and the team have to do a better job with making a better car.
“I think we need to make progress. I have good faith that we can.
“We have a huge amount of what we need in the right areas and the right people and so on.
“It’s just that final hurdle, the final thing to get us up to the same level to then have no excuse against Red Bull, Mercedes, and Ferrari.
“The team know that they need to do a better job.”
Lando Norris wants champagne, McLaren need to deliver
Last season Norris trounced his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, 122 points to 37. But that, rightly so, is not enough for the Briton.
While he is still waiting to win his first grand prix, P2 his best result to date, his 2018 Formula 2 rival George Russell has one to his name while Norris’ first F1 team-mate Carlos Sainz has also broken his duck.
The 23-year-old wants his first P1.
Arriving on the grid in his teens much was, and is still, expected of the Briton. But Formula 1 is very much a case of you can only do the best in the car that you have. And Norris, it’s fair to say, has been doing just that.
He has seized his opportunities with six podiums in total and has hardly made a mistake in recent times. He’s giving his all, it’s only fair that he wants McLaren to do the same.
Last year the Woking team’s early efforts were hampered by their pre-season brake problems that meant they had to spend time and resources resolving that and then it was a game of catch-up.
This year they have no excuses. Norris wants podiums and McLaren need to deliver or he may yet start looking around at his options for 2026.