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Norris challenges McLaren: 2022 progress has to be 'worth it'

Lando Norris praised McLaren for their 2022 efforts, believing everything is there for success, but that the team needs to finally bring it all together in '23.

Lando Norris has challenged his McLaren Formula 1 team to make their recent progress "worth it" in 2023, believing the team has everything it needs to succeed. Norris finished a best-of-the-rest seventh in the 2022 Drivers' standings and was the only non-Red Bull, Ferrari or Mercedes driver to scoop a podium with third place at Imola. The team finished fifth in the Constructors' Championship as teammate Daniel Ricciardo struggled, but McLaren shone operationally throughout the campaign, recording the fastest pit-stop of the season for Ricciardo in Mexico. Norris - who is due to go into his fifth season in 2023 - feels the team is on their "best trajectory", but wants to see them bring it all together and deliver on the final parts that are preventing them from becoming a race-winning team.

Norris issues McLaren challenge

"Everyone's smiling now because we've had a good season for sure," Norris explained to media, including RacingNews365.com , after finishing sixth in Abu Dhabi. "Everyone has done a good job, the mechanics, the engineers, I think we've pretty much maximised every opportunity that we've had. "The mechanics have done an outstanding job in the toughest year for pitstops with heavier tyres and worse guns - we had the fastest pitstop this year and multiple fast stops on race weekends. "In so many areas, we are on a good trajectory and are better than ever. "It is just the one thing you need to show all of that, for it all to be worth. It is the thing that we are missing at the minute. "The mechanics and engineers are fired up more than ever and have more energy than ever to go bigger and to make a better car. "It's just not an easy thing to do, but they have a good plan in place."

Beating Alpine gives motivation

After slipping to the back of the F1 grid in the mid 2010s, McLaren have risen back into the midfield in recent years, finishing third, fourth and fifth in the past three seasons. They ended their near decade win-drought at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix through Ricciardo and have started to challenge for podium finishes once again. However, the 2022 machine was hampered by brake problems which, coupled with Ricciardo's inability to master the car, meant they could not overhaul Alpine for fourth in the standings at the Abu Dhabi season finale. Despite missing out on the position, Norris believes the actual result at Yas Marina is enough to encourage McLaren to continue their progress. "It's just motivation and energy for everyone to finish ahead of Alpine in terms of a result and not the championship," he explained after beating Esteban Ocon across the line. "You're just always happier to be ahead of people and to have a good result."