Lando Norris Confident in McLaren’s Title Chances

Talk of a title challenge from the McLaren team has intensified following Lando Norris’s monumental race victory in Miami.

Lando Norris has declared that McLaren is “close” to vying for a world championship after his triumph in Miami two weeks ago. Norris achieved his first Formula 1 victory at the Miami International Autodrome, finishing ahead of reigning champion Max Verstappen.

Since the implementation of new technical regulations in 2022, Red Bull has dominated the competition. Nevertheless, McLaren’s victory in Miami has bolstered Norris’s optimism about mounting a more consistent challenge to the Milton Keynes-based team.

“Does it give me more hope in challenging them? 100 per cent. I mean, we had an upgrade there,” Norris told the media.

“It definitely helped us. I think anyway, we seemed good there, even if we had no upgrade. I think we still would have been decent, but maybe not quite as quick. 

“I know Max had damage and all of this, and people like to use that, but even before he had damage, we were still quicker than him by a fairly big chunk.”

McLaren has struggled to compete for the title during the current turbo hybrid era, with its last significant opportunity occurring in 2010.

However, Norris believes that the Woking-based team is nearing the capability to contend throughout an entire season.

“Can we challenge for the title next year and that kind of thing? You can never please everyone,” he said.

“If I’m not confident, people say I’m not confident enough. Now I have a bit of confidence, people say I’m overconfident, but we’re getting closer and closer.

“We were there because we had good pace. I feel like we should have been on pole at least on Friday afternoon [for the sprint race in Miami], maybe not Saturday. 

“I think that’s where we deserve to be. But we’re getting closer. And I know as soon as we can attack some of these issues that we have,  I know we can. It’s as simple as that. We’re close.”

McLaren started the 2023 season near the back of the pack but has quickly progressed through effective car development.

Considering their robust upgrade strategy, Norris believes that the logical next step after his victory is to compete for the title.

“As much as some people might doubt it, we’re close, but we know that other people are improving and that kind of thing,” he said. “It’s not an easy task to keep going at it.

“With the progress we’re making, with the developments that we’ve had, there’s no reason to say no. But I do know it’s a whole other task to do it consistently, to do it every weekend. 

“And when you are there, to deliver under pressure every time and qualifying in races, to battle for these positions more than what I have done, that’s still something I look forward to – racing against Max a bit more and racing against the Ferraris a bit more and that kind of thing, which is something we’ve not done.

“I’m confident with how the team are doing with our rate of development, which is better than any other team on the grid, that by next year we can challenge a lot more often for wins. In the big picture, hopefully, a challenge for a title.”