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Formula One star Lando Norris believes McLaren will be “favourites for victory next year” following a resurgent run of performances. The British driver has reaffirmed his confidence in the team after some recent impressive finishes, but believes the team will only be able to compete at the highest level if they continue to develop their car.
Norris has endured a tumultuous season with McLaren. The Brit only managed to claim his first podium finish in July at the British GP, where he finished second behind reigning World Champion Max Verstappen.
The 23-year-old has since maintained some consistency with four more podium finishes, taking him up to seventh in this season’s standings. Just nine points behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Norris could be on for his highest finish yet – a sixth-place finish in the 2021 season – with just five races remaining.
But despite his uptake in form, Norris and his McLaren teammate Oscar Piastri are still far behind their competitors – with Red Bull as dominant as ever. However, he does believe that next season could tell a different story if his car sees some more improvements.
“If we have a strong start to the season in 2024 and continue to develop our car, I think we can occasionally be the favourites for victory next year,” he said in an interview with RacingNews365. “This means that from mid-season or towards the end of next year we will be on some circuits can enter the race as favourites.”
The changes to Norris’ car have come at an ideal time and are clearly proving fruitful with the British driver earning 51 points in his last three races.
Despite his confidence in the McLaren team’s abilities, Norris still believes that Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez must be considered as the biggest threat to their success. “However, this is not possible at every circuit, as Red Bull still competes at a different level than all other teams,” he added.
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“They can perform well on any circuit, while that is not the case with us. We have some circuits where we do very well, such as Silverstone for example, but on other circuits we have a very difficult time. We have to try to improve in terms of consistency.
“Just look at Mercedes, in my opinion they are the most consistent team of 2023 after Red Bull. It may not always look that way, but they have never been very slow. During the season they are actually always faster than McLaren. That is why Mercedes still remains the second team for me, but we are currently making steps that will bring us closer to them.
“In my opinion, we are not yet the second team, but I think we have it in us to become it next year.”
Norris will next be in action at the United States Grand Prix this Sunday at the Circuit of the Americas track in Texas.
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