Lando Norris is hopeful that he will have the chance to fight for a maiden win this season, but the McLaren star has conceded that any ambitions of a title push are unlikely to occur before 2025.
Despite appearing on the podium rostrum six times in his Formula 1 career – including at least once in each of the last three seasons – Norris is yet to stand on the top step in 82 grand prix starts.
Although he came close on a couple of occasions in 2021 – most notably an agonising missed opportunity at the Russian Grand Prix – Norris was not presented with the platform by McLaren to chase the top spot in any race last season, as the British outfit slipped backwards to fifth spot in the Constructors’ standings.
Any ambitions of winning will depend on McLaren partially eroding the substantial deficit that existed between the top three names and the rest last year, with the sight of Norris on the podium at Imola for the second consecutive year the only top-three finish from a driver outside of the Ferrari, Mercedes or Red Bull teams.
Having established himself as a leading light in the midfield, Norris will be aiming to take that elusive next step and finally break his duck to become F1’s latest winner after his long-time friend George Russell took over that mantle when he triumphed at the penultimate round of last year.
However, while he retains hope that he could be in a position at some point across a record-breaking 23-round calendar to achieve that landmark first victory, Norris will likely have to remain patient before he can aspire to compete for such heights as challenging for a world championship.
McLaren’s new infrastructure – including a state-of-the-art wind tunnel – will not come online fully until the construction of the 2025 car, with the older facilities proving a huge stumbling block to the team’s progress.
“With everything I’ve learned, maybe I could win a race, but I’m unlikely to win a championship possibly until that time,” Norris outlined in an interview with GQ Magazine.
Although he’s had to contend with witnessing the other similarly rated top drivers of his generation steal the race-winning headlines, Norris has repeatedly stated he is willing to bide his time and wait for success to come in an environment he’s comfortable in rather than jump ship.
Despite previously admitting to holding talks with Red Bull, Norris pledged his long-term commitment to the papaya-liveried squad to the end of 2025 ahead of last season. and
He immediately repaid the faith placed in his abilities by producing such exceptional exploits to the point where McLaren opted to end their agreement with Daniel Ricciardo a year earlier than planned.
McLaren’s chief executive, Zak Brown, has been impressed by the 23-year-old’s impressive development away from the wheel into a much more well-rounded driver and individual.
“I think we get the best out of him; he’s more talkative and engaged,” Brown said. “He takes the things that he needs to take seriously, very seriously.
“He knows how to get the best out of a race car and put the car to its limits. He’s also able to very articulately convey what that car is doing because he has such a good feel for it; his technical feedback is excellent.”
Finally, quizzed on whether he believes Norris has the potential to become a world champion in the right machinery, Brown responded: “I think he’s got another 10 to 15 years ahead of him; I think as long as we can get him a car, he’ll be a World Champion.”
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