McLaren have bounced back in splendid fashion during the second half of 2023. From a disastrous start in Bahrain to the “most consistent challenger” to the leaders, it’s something to admire. Lando Norris is incredibly happy though he has warned that it will be “impossible” to continue this trajectory forever.
Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, said that he was impressed with McLaren’s recent form and admitted they are Red Bull’s most consistent challenger.
“It’s moved around over the last four to five races but they’ve become certainly more consistent, the most consistent challenger,” Horner said.
“They’re doing a good job and the drivers are driving well. Particularly Oscar [Piastri], in his rookie season is doing a very strong job.”
Even the reigning world champion, Max Verstappen, had nothing but praise for McLaren and their drivers, calling Norris and Piastri “the best driver line-up.”
“As a team they are probably the most consistent, compared to the others behind us,” Verstappen said.
“I do think they have the best driver line-up out of all of them. They are operating really well. It’s going to be interesting to the end of the year, but also I think [about] the start of next year to see where everyone is at.”
Lando Norris: "It's Always Going to Slow Down"
The start of next year is what McLaren have they eye on as well with Norris telling Racing News 365 that if McLaren “continue this rate of development” they could challenge Red Bull next season, but qualified that statement acknowledging that it’s “impossible to continue at this rate, it’s always going to slow down.”
Norris added that the only reason McLaren hasn’t climbed to the top of the Constructors’ is due to their poor performance at the start of each season.
“The only thing we have failed to do over the last three years is start the season with a strong car and I’d say one of the strongest cars I have started the season with was either 2019 in my first few races in F1, or maybe 2021,” Norris said.
That’s McLaren’s main goal for 2024 with Norris optimistic that they can be “at times favourites heading into a weekend.”
Fernando Alonso: "It's Good If They're Overconfident"
Despite McLaren’s confidence, not everyone thinks they should be so optimistic. Aston Martin are on the opposite trajectory of McLaren having started the season very strong, to now only having 11 points separating themselves and McLaren for P4 in the Constructors’.
Fernando Alonso believes that the team can take advantage of McLaren’s overconfidence.
“Obviously, they have the momentum for sure,” Alonso said. “And they’ve been quite fast. But every weekend we see ups and downs for everybody.
“They’ve been very strong before the August break in Austria, in Silverstone. I think they were close to being both on the podium in Silverstone.
“In Zandvoort, we were on the podium and they struggled a little bit. So, it’s good if they’re overconfident, and let’s see if we can beat them in Abu Dhabi!”