McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown says proving to Lando Norris that his and the team’s title ambitions can be achieved together is key to keeping him, with very positive momentum being made towards that.
The F1 2023 campaign certainly did not get off to a positive start for McLaren, who after admitting that targets had not been hit with the MCL60, started out as one of the slowest teams on the grid.
How the situation has turned now though, with a string of developments which started at the Austrian Grand Prix having surged McLaren from struggling to break into the points, to fighting for podium places.
McLaren giving Lando Norris confidence on title dream
Norris recorded back-to-back P2 finishes at the British and Hungarian GPs, while Oscar Piastri claimed P2 in the Belgium sprint having narrowly missed out on pole, with McLaren now setting their sights on a late charge to break into the top four in the Constructors’ Championship standings.
Progress is clearly being made then, crucial to keeping Norris in the team, who despite being contracted at McLaren until the end of F1 2025, has been linked with Formula 1’s dominant force Red Bull on multiple occasions, advisor Helmut Marko recently saying he could one day envisage Norris being Max Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate.
But, Brown believes the Plan A for Norris is to become World Champion with McLaren, and he says the team now are showing the Brit that this dream can become reality.
“I think it’s been massively important for all of us. It shows we can do it,” Brown told ESPN regarding McLaren’s performance spike.
“That being said, we haven’t won one with [Norris] yet. He loves McLaren, it’s been his family, so there’s no doubt in my mind his number one choice is to win a World Championship with McLaren.
“I think the best thing we do to retain him is to demonstrate to him we’re a team capable of doing that.
“It’s not a case of wooing him or not wooing him, it’s about giving him a car where he can look himself in the mirror and say ‘I think I can win a World Championship with this team’.
“As long as [Norris] continues to see our pace and development then I think he’ll have all the confidence in the world that this team’s won 20 World Championships and have everything they need, look at the momentum.”
With 10 rounds of the F1 2023 campaign remaining, McLaren will have Ferrari and that P4 spot in the Constructors’ in sight, the gap currently 88 points.