Lando Norris claims that McLaren have the chance to catch and beat Aston Martin in the 2023 Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship.
Aston Martin started the 2023 F1 season strongly, Fernando Alonso bagging podiums for the team on seven occasions and scoring points in every race so far except for Singapore where he finished 15th.
That means Aston Martin are fourth in the F1 Constructors’ Championship, 49 points ahead of McLaren who has struggled earlier on in 2023, but started recovering following a midseason upgrade in Austria.
But after finishing second in the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix, his teammate Oscar Piastri third, Norris claimed McLaren can close the gap to Aston and even beat them.
“I didn’t think it [the gap] was that close. But yeah, if it’s 49, then I definitely think so,” Norris told the media in Suzuka last Sunday after the race.
“There’s not many races left. I’m sure there’s going to be a couple where Aston are going to be a bit stronger. But I think our advantage at the minute comparing to almost every team, bar a couple, is we have two drivers who are up there fighting for these positions and fighting for these points.
“And not every team has that at the minute. So, I think that’s helping us. We can help one another, we can use one another, and I think that’s a good advantage we have over a lot of other teams at the minute. So, we’re on an upward trend,” he explained.
“We’re making good progress and days like today prove exactly that,” Norris added, “even though I know there’s going to be, maybe, some tougher races coming up at times and maybe not as straightforward as today.
“But the progress we’ve made this season has been pretty incredible from my eyes and from where we were, to finishing 18 seconds behind the lead or 19 seconds is, I think, evidence of exactly that.
“So, I’m proud of everyone and we’ll keep pushing,” the 23-year-old concluded.
McLaren do not need any motivation, they are already fired up
McLaren team boss Andrea Stella on the other hand insisted his team will not need any motivation to go an catch Aston Martin.
He told the F1 Nation podcast: “As I keep saying, our philosophy is results take care of themselves. We just need to do what is right. What is right in the short term, medium term, long term.
“I know that everyone at McLaren, they will not need me saying we need to go and catch Aston, they will say we are already pushing 100%,” he claimed.
“And actually, I don’t want anybody thinking that we need to shortcut. Let’s keep the rigorousness, let’s keep the methodical approach that we have had so far, and then we will see in the end where we are,” the Italian maintained.
McLaren CEO Zak Brown, who has finally started to see the fruits of his work at McLaren was quizzed by Sky Sports F1 about his team’s chances of taking fourth in the 2023 F1 Constructors’ Championshipز
He responded: “It’s definitely doable. All we can do is be as competitive as we can every weekend.
“We have to chase down Fernando, which is never easy. You can never rule him out. We have got to have a couple of big points races like we did last weekend [in Singapore] where maybe Aston Martin don’t get in the points. It’s mathematically possible but we have to keep on pushing and that’s all we can do.
“The team is just doing such a fantastic job, executing week in, week out,” he pointed out. “We are trying to catch Red Bull. All we can do is chip a tenth at the time but Max was pretty dominant. I think we will be strong at the next race, so will keep pushing.”
Going ahead into the final races of the season, starting with Qatar, Brown claimed: “I feel as confident as I can we will be pretty strong everywhere, but we know there will be some tracks that favour your car more than others and we are good in the high speed, which Qatar is.
“So we will be strong there and not be weak anywhere,” the 51-year-old American concluded.
Big Question: Can McLaren beat Aston Martin to fourth in the 2023 Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship?