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Whatever it takes: Are McLaren set up for a successful season?

Written by Jiya Mahapatra, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

2023 was a massive year for the McLaren Racing Formula 1 team. After a disappointing start to the season, their beloved ‘papaya’ fans were left disheartened. 

However, the British team made an immense comeback after installing new updates on the car halfway through the season. From Silverstone, they were on a roll, with Lando Norris reaching the podium seven times, and rookie Oscar Piastri even winning the sprint race at the Qatar Grand Prix. 

As a whole, the team finished the season on a high, placing fourth in the constructors championship. Their fightback in 2023 was certainly the talk of the racing community, but this begs the question: What can we expect from McLaren in 2024? 

The whole McLaren team celebrating following the Japanese Grand Prix; Credits: Gongora/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Firstly, last season Lando Norris showed tremendous improvement as a driver, making seven rostrum appearances, his personal record for any season. 

Though yet to score his maiden win in F1, Norris’ tenacity and determination to put himself in the dogfight among top drivers such as Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton has been noted by his team, with McLaren team principal Zak Brown stating, “Lando had been at the top of his game in 2023, showing tremendous pace and terrific racecraft.” 

Considered to be one of the most talented drivers of his generation, Norris has been noticed by a number of other teams, including reigning champions Oracle Red Bull Racing. 

In fact, the Austrian team’s director and former racing legend Helmut Marko himself previously described how “Norris is definitely a candidate” for a future Red Bull seat, going on to quote, “In terms of youth and speed, he would be a great fit for us”

For now, Norris has decided that he looks best in papaya, having recently extended his contract with the team beyond the 2025 season. 

His teammate Oscar Piastri had an incredibly successful rookie season in 2023, scoring two podium finishes, and even managing a maiden win of any definition, in the Qatar sprint.. 

While he only managed to finish ninth in the drivers standings, his performance as a rookie was outstanding; he proved he had the talent to compete with, and even beat others who had years of experience on their side. 

Given a little bit more time, Piastri is certain to have a few more wins, and potentially even championships, under his belt. The young Australian will be a huge asset to McLaren’s bright future, and it’s clear he will be hungrier than ever, in 2024. 

Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri are McLaren’s new dynamic duo; Credits: Gongora/NurPhoto via Getty Images

However, having a couple of talented drivers isn’t enough to win an F1 championship. 

What’s the key? Money. Money runs the sport, as it’s the only way for teams to build and innovate better, faster cars, and even though the MCL60 was impressively quick (following the upgrades) in 2023, the team is constantly trying to improve their machinery. 

Thankfully, McLaren now has the means to do this, having recently signed new sponsorship deals with several companies, including Monster Energy, Estrella Galicia, and Airwallex, a financial technology corporation.

All these new partnerships will help to fund the team’s quest for innovation, which will hopefully result in an even quicker car this season.  

The MCL60 in Suzuka, Japan; Credits: Gongora/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Overall, McLaren are definitely set up to have an exciting year! Every year, they get better and better, and 2024 won’t be an exception. What do you think we’ll see? Lando Norris winning his first race? Or perhaps his younger, sophomore-seasoned teammate will do it first? Only time will be able to tell us the tale. 


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