Lando Norris has criticised McLaren's failure since his Formula 1 debut of not building quick enough cars - but lavished praise for its 2023 turnaround.
Since making his debut in 2019, Norris has been only able to challenge for occasional podiums with the cars proving tricky to drive.
The McLarens require a unique driving style that is at odds with Norris's natural style, and was one that Daniel Ricciardo could not adjust to, with the traits being inherited from the MCL34 of 2019 to the MCL60 of 2023.
The Woking team did appear to change direction for the better in mid-2023, with sizeable upgrade packages in Austria and Singapore transforming the car from an also-ran to second fastest behind Red Bull.
Norris claimed a career-best seven podiums, including six-second places as he took sixth in the Drivers', just one point behind Fernando Alonso in fourth, and praised the bounceback of 2023.
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"It hard to know what is too long and what is not," Norris told media including RacingNews365.
"It is Formula 1, and some things move quickly, and therefore you would say: 'Have we done a good enough job?' and you'd have to say: 'No, we haven't over the last five years.'
"'Have we met the goals we wanted to, you'd say no, but this year did we meet the goals we wanted? Yes, we probably exceeded our expectations.
"But there have been certain reasons for it, why we've not been able to do that, and a lot of it has just been making a quick enough car in the first place.
"That has been the issue that we've not been able to make a car that is quick enough, and even if it is impossible to drive, but quick, we haven't even had that.
"Now we've got to a stage where we've got a quick enough car, we can start to move things around a little bit, and when you've got a slow car, when you move things around, the focus is in the wrong area.
"We need loads, then driveability rather than driveability and then loads.
"It has been too long in an ideal, but those things happen, just look at how Mercedes improved over the last two years.
"Considering where they were the last six or seven years, you would have thought they had the best knowledge of how to make the car work - and they just haven't got the things right, so that shows how difficult it is."