Great race pace. Great pit stops. The alacrity of its youth. And the capability of its ‘experienced’ driver; McLaren will need a lot out of themselves and a certain Lando Norris in 2023.
Truth be told, how McLaren contest this year in a brand new world championship season will perhaps come to largely rely on their young driver Lando Norris. Frankly, in 2022, he finished just behind Lewis Hamilton standing seventh (P7) on the Constructor Standings gathering 122 points.
Though that meant that the young British driver finished 118 points behind the seven-time world champion, the McLaren boy’s effort was enough to outpace the likes of Esteban Ocon, Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo (in that order). And that wasn’t a small effort- was it?
Just that going forwards- and hopefully upwards- McLaren under Andrea Stella will need a lot more from the driver who is no longer a newcomer at the stellar British team.
As a matter of factly and true to the vastly fast changing vagaries of time, the boy who was a newcomer at McLaren has turned into a man to reckon with.
Lando Norris, it ought to be said, is the main man at McLaren
With there being no Daniel Ricciardo starting 2023 at McLaren, the famous Aussie joining Red Bull in their third- and- reserve driver role, Norris is on his own in some sense.
Not that this is a position that, arguably speaking, puts him under incredible pressure.
Despite the Perth-born driver notching up the only victory for the stable in the turbo-hybrid era, it was Lando Norris who clearly outperformed Ricciardo.
When Lando outscored Daniel
That was the case in 2020 and it didn’t change where it came to 2021 and 2022 seasons.
But where it stands this year, McLaren will find themselves at the services of two new drivers- one who’s already adept to the enormity of challenge that comes with pushing for an ultra successful F1 outfit and the other, who’s quite simply, absolutely new to Motorsport’s top flight.
So what makes it rather interesting is that it’s the case of a 23-year-old attacking in tandem with a 21-year-old F1 newbie!
The key question, in such a circumstance, is whether the two new forces at McLaren can register something strong to contend with?
Which clearly brings us to ponder a fact.
Maybe, it’s only fair to say that what the Zak Brown-powered team need this year is for Lando Norris to deliver a consistent string of performances of the kinds that one saw at the Russian Grand Prix of 2021, where lest it is forgotten, young Norris, then only 21, was on pole position.
That Lando Norris is championship material is beyond doubt.
But realistically speaking, that world title isn’t happening this year for there are other powerful players such as Max Verstappen, looking for another title, Leclerc hunting for a first and Hamilton, seeking an eighth around.
To begin with, what McLaren will need is to field a car competitive enough to allow Norris to capture multiple podiums in his bid to solidify his credentials further.
But in the context of the rest of the midfield, it ought to be reminded, McLaren will attract a lot of competition from the likes of Alpha Tauri and Alpine, the latter, truth be told, will pose a strong challenge to bid for a P3 this year.