Can McLaren’s Lando Norris mount 2025 F1 title challenge?


Lando Norris is possibly Formula 1’s biggest sleeping giant. The Briton is yet to show the full scope of his potential but has shown utter brilliance on several occasions and his biggest limiting factor is perhaps his own team.

The Woking-based team last won a championship in 2008 when Lewis Hamilton managed to clinch a late title victory in the season finale against Felipe Massa. McLaren have since then only won one race, with Daniel Ricciardo taking victory at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix.

The British team is nowhere close to the championship-winning form they once had in the era of Ayrton Senna and Mika Hakkinen. Despite their mediocre form in modern F1, many tip Lando Norris to be the sport’s next big thing, with even seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton having complimented his fellow compatriot on more than one occasion.

The problem seems to lie with McLaren; more specifically with their wind tunnel testing facility. The team is working on readying a new wind tunnel midway through 2023 and their CEO Zak Brown is convinced this wind tunnel is the key to all their answers.

Speaking about his plans for the future to ESPN, Zak Brown said:

“By ’24, we will have had it in place but not for the entire development of the ’24 car. So ’24 I’d like to think would be a good step forward, where I think we could be mixing it up on a more regular basis. Then in ’25 we have everything we need — drivers, people, resources, wind tunnel, simulator.”

“There’s no reason why, on paper, we shouldn’t be in a position to be challenging at the front on a regular basis by ’25. That’s certainly our ambition.”

Lando Norris could fight for wins in 2023, claims F1 analyst

Lando Norris could be fighting for his maiden race win in 2023 if McLaren can keep up with the best teams, claims former driver-turned-analyst Jolyon Palmer. The 23-year-old Briton had a splendid 2022 season — finishing seventh in the drivers’ standings — with his ability to compete any higher up the grid limited only by his car.

In his most recent post-season column on F1’s official website, Palmer praised Lando Norris for “another stellar season,” writing:

“It was another stellar season for the McLaren driver, who barely put a foot wrong all campaign to finish comfortably best of the rest in the standings and almost single-handedly take the fight to Alpine in the Constructors’ Championship.”

Palmer hopes that the gap between the best teams and others will reduce next season, and expects that will help the McLaren driver have a realistic shot at his first win. He wrote:

“The gap between the best and the rest was bigger than anticipated in 2022, something I hope will close up from next season to give more of the midfielders opportunities. But it was only Norris who managed a podium outside of the top three teams, with his drive to third in Imola.”

Lando Norris came agonizingly close to winning a race in 2021 when a late rain shower in Sochi denied him a richly-deserved victory. The McLaren driver, however, is widely considered a special talent, and in the right car, he could have already won a race or even challenged for titles. It will be interesting to see how Lando Norris competes in 2023.

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