The team failed to capitalise on the major 2022 ground-effects regulation changes after constructing an overweight MCL36 that struggled with early brake cooling issues and then lost out in the development battle with rival squad Alpine to slip to fourth in the standings.
With team principal Andreas Seidl since moving to Sauber – which is in the process of being taken over by Audi – and Red Bull boss Christian Horner revealing he had held preliminary talks with Norris, the Briton’s McLaren future has come under increased scrutiny.
But speaking at the launch of the MCL60, Norris – who is provisionally contracted to McLaren until the end of 2025 – says he retains full faith in the team that granted him his topflight debut in 2019.
He said: “At times, it’s tough because I’m a competitive guy and I want to win.
“Of course, at times you think what could you do in order to get into the position earlier.
“But also, I’m very comfortable with where I am right now. I have good confidence in the team… and that’s the most important thing for myself, to give myself that confidence, but also for the team to have it at the same time.”
Later this year, McLaren will phase in its new wind tunnel that will reach “100%” effectiveness in time for the upgrade cycle that will be applied to the 2024 car. The 2025 challenger will then be the first car designed from scratch with the infrastructure upgrades.
Against this timeline, Norris reckons he had the patience to wait until the latter stages of his contract for McLaren to provide him with a car capable of fighting regularly at the front.
Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing, Lando Norris, McLaren
Photo by: McLaren
He continued: “It’s a long way away, but we’ll see how the progress can be this season, how we can do at the end of the season when we get things in the new wind tunnel and start to get our first idea.
“I want to believe ’24, ’25 are when you should start to see some bigger changes. It feels like a long time away. We’ve got the whole year to do. But the beginning of that starts this year.
“Last year was a very frustrating year because the new rules, new regulations was really a chance to pioneer that jump forward. But that wasn’t to be.
“I have definitely not lost faith in the team that I’m part of and I’m very happy to continue to work with them and to be part of the journey to hopefully getting back to winning championships and winning races.
He added: “I have the patience this time to kind of wait out those few more years. I feel like I’ve got many years still to go and those two years.
“Potentially [2025 is] the year when we can be in a position to really fight for things.”
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