Lando Norris is in his fifth season in Formula 1 and is ready to take the reins of McLaren, as leader of the Woking team, especially after the departure of Daniel Ricciardo.
At his side, starting this year, there will be newcomer Oscar Piastri. That’s why he will have to be the point of reference on which the team will have to lean to get back to fighting for at least the top 4 positions in the Constructors’ World standings.
The British team has ambitions and the Bristol native too. Norris knows that McLaren will in all probability have to wait a couple more years before they have the full potential to have grand prix winning ambitions and fight for titles, but 2023 could be the year of his definitive consecration after 4 years in which he has already shown that he has the inspiration necessary to have high ambitions.
In the afternoon when McLaren presented the MCL60, the new single-seater for the 2023 Formula 1 World Championship, Norris dealt with various topics without ever hiding, speaking clearly and showing very lofty ambitions.
Norris, do you think you have more responsibility this year? After all, after Ricciardo’s farewell, she is the most expert pilot…
“I definitely think I have more responsibilities to bear this season. Simply because I’m the one who has a little more experience with F1 but also with McLaren as a team. I can use it much more than Oscar could and therefore my responsibility is to use it to our advantage and to be the one who can use it the most to improve it in the future”.
“Of course, Oscar has to be able to bring a different perspective. He’s been working with a different team, which I’ve never done before. He can bring a different side, but I’m able to bring the things that worked and those that didn’t work in previous years and to be the rider who keeps them and who pushes the team.I think I’m the one who feels most at home right now, having been with the team for so long, and I can use that push people, the people who work here, the aerodynamicists, the designers.”
“I probably feel happier going to them and asking questions, leaning on them and pushing them than what Oscar does. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think that comes with time, getting to know people, gaining experience with the team. This In short, I wait. Getting the truth out of people, pushing them to find their limit, whatever the scope of the team. This is kind of my job and my role within the team, rather than giving general feedback about the car and driving. I have more responsibility here to lead the team and push them forward.”
Photo by: McLaren
How easy is it for you to keep ambition in check and stay clear-headed? Doesn’t he get frustrated?
“I think the main thing is the excitement of what’s going to happen in the future. When I think about how quickly the last four years have gone by, I hope the next two can come quickly too, especially ’24 and then even more so the ’25. I think the excitement probably hides some of that patience that I have to have and that I carry with me. I’m a driver, I want to win quickly, I want the team to do better and so on. I’m demanding when I have to be and the team understands, even himself, that we are a team, that we should be able to win championships and that soon we will have, I would say, all the credentials to do so”.
“I am aware that right now we don’t have everything we need to win races and compete with the best teams in the world, but if in recent years and this year we manage to build a team capable of offering performances in all sectors to win the world championships and to reach that level and when there are those more things waiting for us we can take that step forward in terms of absolute performance, then we will have everything we need to get to the victory. I’m not the most patient type of person, but it’s something you need to learn to have when you get into F1.Until then, I’m just doing my job to get everything I can one weekend at a time and that’s my way to proceed”.
What is your relationship with Piastri?
“Carlos (Sainz) and I still get along very well. I think everyone had the perception that Daniel (Ricciardo) and I didn’t get along, even if it wasn’t entirely correct: we were very competitive and wanted to fight each other each other, so maybe this was the vibe: we were kids always happy to help each other, we always wanted to beat each other, but we were good friends and had a lot of laughs, etc, but the laughter Carlos and I had and the respect we had for each other was probably more than what most people see among drivers in F1.”
Lando Norris, McLaren, Oscar Piastri, McLaren
Photo by: McLaren
“It’s still early days with Oscar, so far we’ve worked together and on the same day only a handful of times, like here at the McLaren Technology Center or in the Abu Dhabi tests. So far it’s been going well, but it’s still a very different environment to work here or at a test compared to a weekend of raves when racing for the first time But he’s a lovely guy, a hard worker, and I don’t see why we shouldn’t be able to continue McLaren’s reputation in recent years of being a great team, to help each other where we need help, since we both have the same goal”.
“We both want to win races, we both want to be champions, and we understand that we can’t do it right now, we don’t have what we need, we don’t have the machinery to do it, until then we will work well together and push ourselves and the more to get us closer to the goal”.
Will he have the patience to stay here for 3 years with conviction or should he aim for a better car?
“I think this year we can put next year’s car in the wind tunnel. Maybe it won’t have the maximum effect, we can’t start all the development in the new wind tunnel that we will have, but we can at least start to see some progress. I have the patience to wait for the next few years, not to wait, but to make the most of the next two years. I’m happy to do that, up to a point, I’m only 23, I feel like I still have many years ahead of me. These two years, and potentially 25, is the year we can be in a position to really fight for things.”
“Sometimes it’s hard to think about it, because I’m a competitive guy and I want to win, so obviously I think about what could be done to get to that position first, but I’m also very happy with where I am now. I have good faith in the team, if not if I had it, perhaps my mentality would be different, but this confidence is important, for myself, but also for the team. There is still a long way to go, but we will see what progress will be this season and how things will go at the end of the season. when we enter the new wind tunnel and begin to get a first impression”.
“I want to believe that 24 and 25 are the years we should see the most change. Yes, that still seems far away. There’s a whole year to go, but the start of this starts this year. I know maybe we have everyone said a bit in recent years, last year was a very frustrating year because the new rules, the new regulations, were our opportunity to take a leap forward that didn’t happen. and yes, it was frustrating for me, for the whole team to be in that position, but I think there are good reasons for it and so on, but I definitely haven’t lost faith in the team I’m a part of, I’m very happy to continue working with them and to be part of the journey back to winning races and championships.”
Photo by: McLaren
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