Motor racing-McLaren can mount title challenge in 2025, says Norris

By Thomson Reuters May 9, 2024 | 6:40 AM

LONDON (Reuters) – McLaren can mount a Formula One championship challenge next season after taking the fight to Red Bull in 2024, Lando Norris said on Thursday as the team celebrated his first grand prix victory.

The Briton’s win in Miami last Sunday was McLaren’s first since Australian Daniel Ricciardo led Norris in a one-two at Monza in 2021.

McLaren, the second most successful team in Formula One history in terms of race wins, have not won a title since now-seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton took his first in 2008.

Asked if McLaren could be championship contenders in a year’s time, Norris told Sky Sports television: “100%. And I’m saying that still with my feet on the ground.

“As much as I said at the beginning of this year we can win races, I want to believe and I should have the confidence to say next year we can go for more, we can go for the next step.”

Norris beat Red Bull’s triple world champion Max Verstappen by 7.6 seconds on Sunday after a safety car period fell to his advantage. Verstappen had won four of the previous five rounds this season.

Red Bull revealed after the race that the Dutch driver had damaged the floor of his car when he hit a bollard.

“I’m sure something’s changed, there’s something inside that’s changed because I’m a race winner now, but at the same time it doesn’t change how I approach things. I’m still the same guy, I still want to win more,” said Norris.

He added that McLaren, currently third in the championship with Ferrari second, could win more races this year.

“I think we’re looking at an exciting season between us, Red Bull, Ferrari. We still have work to do, we’re not at the level that they are just yet,” he said.

Norris also expected the dynamic with Verstappen, a friend, to change.

“I’m sure it will… we have respect for one another, we get along. We’re not best friends, we don’t text each other every day, but we just have a lot of respect,” he said.

“I want to challenge him, I want to race against him, I want to battle because I think he’s one of the best drivers ever in Formula One. So if I can prove myself against him I’m proving myself against one of the best.”

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)