McLaren make Aston Martin warning after huge Japan Constructors’ points haul

Thomas Maher
McLaren's Lando Norris at the Japanese Grand Prix.

McLaren's Lando Norris at the Japanese Grand Prix.

McLaren’s Zak Brown and Lando Norris believe Aston Martin’s fourth-place in the Constructors’ Championship is now a realistic target.

McLaren are quickly reeling in Aston Martin in the Constructors’ Championship, in what has been a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for both teams since the start of the year.

While Aston Martin were amongst the quickest teams at season start, with McLaren struggling, the development cycle through the year has seen the AMR23 slip away from the front, while the MCL60 has become one of the quickest cars on the grid.

Zak Brown: McLaren are coming for Aston Martin

With two poor races for Aston Martin in Singapore and Japan – scoring just a single eighth place with Fernando Alonso at Suzuka – McLaren’s double podium finish to follow up Norris’ podium in Singapore has meant the gap between fourth and fifth has been cut to just 49 points with six races to go.

Speaking to Sky F1 after the Japanese GP, Zak Brown said he believes the gap is surmountable.

“I wish it was closer but we’re coming. I think it’s gonna be exciting,” he said.

“We just got to keep doing what we’re doing and, hopefully, we’ll be there at the end.”

But, despite his cars being Max Verstappen’s closest rivals in Japan, the Red Bull RB19 remains a step too far – at least for this season.

“We’re not going to get them this year,” Brown said of Red Bull.

“We’re trying – all we can do is chip away a tenth at a time, but Max was obviously pretty dominant.

“I think we’ll be strong at the next race. So we’re strong in Singapore, so let’s keep pushing. That’s all we can do.” recommends

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Lando Norris: McLaren can definitely overhaul Aston Martin

Speaking in the Sunday press conference at Suzuka, Lando Norris said he was surprised the gap between McLaren and Aston Martin had been cut to what he clearly views as a slender lead.

“I didn’t think it was that close,” he said.

“But yeah, if it’s 49, then I definitely think [we can catch them]. There are not many races left. I’m sure there’s going to be a couple where Aston are going to be a bit stronger.

“But I think our advantage at the minute comparing to almost every team, bar a couple, is we have two drivers who are up there fighting for these positions and fighting for these points. And not every team has that at the minute. So I think that’s helping us. We can help one another, we can use one another, and I think that’s a good advantage we have over a lot of other teams at the minute. So we’re on an upward trend.

“We’re making good progress and days like today prove exactly that. Even though I know there are going to be maybe some tougher races coming up at times and maybe not as straightforward as today, the progress we’ve made this season has been pretty incredible from my eyes and from where we were, to finishing 18 seconds behind the lead or 19 seconds is, I think, evidence of exactly that. So I’m proud of everyone and we’ll keep pushing.”

While Norris still has suspicions the MCL60 will have some weaker venues between now and season end, Brown is more optimistic: “I feel as confident as I can that we’re going to be pretty strong everywhere but you do know there are some tracks that will favour your car more than others.

“We’re good at high speed, which Qatar is, so I think we’ll be strong there and hopefully not be weak anywhere.”

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