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Lando Norris

Norris 'very confident' he could challenge Verstappen for title

Red Bull look to have a significant edge over their competitors in the 2023 championship battle, but Lando Norris believes he could battle against Max Verstappen if he had the machinery to do so.

Lando Norris Max Verstappen Azerbaijan GP Baku 2022
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Lando Norris is confident that he could challenge Max Verstappen for the title if he was in a position to do so.

McLaren have faced a difficult start to the 2023 F1 season, with the team struggling to score points until a tumultous Australian Grand Prix allowed both Norris and Oscar Piastri to finish within the top 10.

Away from the track, various changes have been made to the outfit's structure. It was confirmed in March that Technical Director James Key had left the team, and that the role has since been split into a three-headed structure of technical directors headed by Peter Prodromou, Neil Houldley and David Sanchez, with the latter set to join in January 2024.

Norris acknowledges that things have not gone as well as hoped for McLaren so far in 2023, particularly after the steps forward made in previous years.

Norris: McLaren performance below expectation

"If I'm honest, I will say it's below the expectation," Norris told The Race.

"The thing is, it's below the expectation of the team as well. And I think that's known by everyone. I guess it's a bit of the reason why there's been quite a few changes.

"The trajectory in 2021 was very good. And the progression through '22 was pretty reasonable.

"The step into this year is below the expectation that we all had in mind at the end of last season. This is the year I expected a bit more of a step.

"Even last year, I would say, in terms of a realistic expectation, I was hoping for a little bit more.

"So, I'd say this year and last year are a little bit below where I was hoping the team would be, for many different reasons."

Future title battle hopes

Norris has a contract with McLaren until the end of 2025 and is confident that, in the future, he can pose a challenge to Verstappen for the World Championship.

"I feel very confident now that if I was in a position to go up against Max and Lewis [Hamilton], I'm not the kind of guy to ever say I'm confident I will easily be able to go out and beat them, but I believe I'll be able to battle against them and be a contender against them for a championship," the Briton explained.

"But I believe that even more so for '24. And I believe that even more for '25."

Also interesting:

Balve Bains is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to dissect the key talking points from the last week in F1.

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