The 2023 Formula 1 season saw McLaren’s MCL60 car benefitting from pivotal upgrades, ensuring drivers Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris remain in the competitive limelight. Initially marked by a slow start, the duo’s performance notably advanced as the season progressed.
While Piastri’s ‘rookie errors’ occasionally set him back, his potential hasn’t gone unnoticed. During races like the British and Hungarian Grands Prix, his strategy mishaps kept him off the podium. However, his prowess shone brightly in the Belgian Grand Prix where he secured the second spot in the sprint race, indicating a promising trajectory.
Racing driver and TV host, Naomi Schiff, provided insights on the evolving dynamics between the McLaren teammates. She commented on Norris’s experience, stating to Sky F1:
“I have to be honest, I don’t think there is a way that he can really be enjoying it.
“I do think it is a positive for him to have a team-mate in the garage next to him that’s quick, that’s bringing in valuable data to move the whole team forward.
“But of course as a driver, the number one person – as much as they call this a team sport – the number one person you want to beat is your team-mate.”
Further emphasising the potential challenges Norris faced, Schiff elaborated on his misadventure during the Belgium qualifying, highlighting:
“Obviously qualifying on Friday [in Belgium] was slightly different for Lando, he went off at Turn 14 and caused some damage to his underfloor and therefore he lost the ultimate performance in the car.”
Yet, she perceives this internal competition as beneficial, concluding:
“However, Oscar was able to out-pace him in qualifying fair and square. So that’s going to be putting some pressure on him. But I think it’s positive pressure.
“As much as he might not like it, it’ll be good for him. It’ll be pushing him to pay more attention to detail. And ultimately when you’ve got a driver next to you that’s pushing you, you become a better driver yourself.”
The McLaren dynamics underscore the intricate balance of competition and growth within the F1 arena.