Lando Norris’ big question in the ‘are Red Bull beatable’ debate

Michelle Foster
Lando Norris as McLaren launch the MCL38.

Lando Norris as McLaren launch the MCL38.

Lando Norris believes McLaren can beat Red Bull to race wins this season, he’s just not so sure they can beat the reigning champions over an entire season.

Norris had to settle for six runner-up results last season, beaten by Max Verstappen in all but one of those P2 results.

But given that the Red Bull driver put every one of his rivals in the shade, Norris can take heart from the fact that he finished the season with more P2s than any other driver.

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McLaren’s in-season progress as they went from struggling to score points to best of the rest behind Red Bull has given the team confidence going into the new season.

But only time will tell if they can challenge Red Bull for what would be a first Grand Prix win for Norris or his team-mate Oscar Piastri, the latter having bagged a Sprint P1 last year.

“If you were to say ‘are they beatable’, you’re going to have to say yes,” Norris said.

“I think we want to believe to say yes, because we were very close at certain times and at certain times we did beat them.”

He, however, concedes beating Red Bull over the course of the season to fight for the World titles is a more “difficult” task.

“The question is can we beat them over a season,” he continued, “because I think that’s going to be the challenging thing and I think that’s going to be very difficult to do with how well they are performing.

“So, yeah, I’m optimistic. It’s possible to beat them at certain times, I want to believe so. Yes.” recommends

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Last season Norris moved level with Nick Heidfeld at the top of the list for the most wins without a podium as his seven in 2023 brought his overall tally to 13.

His team boss Andrea Stella reckons while Red Bull may have the early-season advantage, McLaren’s development rate could see Norris move onto the list of most podiums before a first Grand Prix win.

“At the start of the season my expectation of Red Bull is that they will enjoy an advantage,” he said.

“I say this because they didn’t develop the car very much last year and I would think it is reasonable to expect that they will have accumulated knowledge and development from last season and bring that to the 2024 car.

“If, and I say if, we continue the development rate from 2023 into 2024, then we can be in a strong position. But whether that is enough to challenge Red Bull and the other top teams who have made improvements, we will find out.”

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