Formula 1: A new team has joined the fight for the podium

Lando Norris, McLaren, Formula 1 (Photo by Michael Potts/BSR Agency/Getty Images)
Lando Norris, McLaren, Formula 1 (Photo by Michael Potts/BSR Agency/Getty Images) /

Now 10 races into the 2023 Formula 1 season, there are as many as five teams capable of competing for podium finishes on a regular basis.

We are now into the unique part of the Formula 1 season in which many of the 10 teams have introduced big upgrade packages onto their cars.

As a result of the recent upgrades, half of the teams on the grid now have cars capable of finishing on the podium. McLaren are the fifth and latest team to introduce substantial upgrades, making the MCL60 a podium-worthy car.

The target for McLaren’s B-spec upgrades was supposed to be Silverstone Circuit this coming weekend. The team in Woking worked hard to bring the upgrades earlier than expected, and they definitely paid off.

Lando Norris received these upgrades this past weekend, and his performance at the Red Bull Ring was nothing short of spectacular. The redesigned floor, sidepod cover, and engine cover, coupled with an upgraded halo and upgraded mirrors, definitely improved both the car’s single-lap and race pace.

The superb outing from Norris was evident right from qualifying on Friday. He qualified P4 for the Austrian Grand Prix and P3 for the sprint race, and he finished the Grand Prix itself in P4. He crossed the line in P5, but with eight drivers receiving post-race penalties, the Brit managed to slide up one position.

The 23-year-old found himself surprised after the upgrades proved to be so impactful.

"“Surprisingly it was better than I was expecting. So, a good surprise, definitely helped us achieve the result today. The upgrade has definitely helped us take a big step forward. So, I’m very happy. A good amount of points and a good reward for the team.”"

Such a performance means that we could see Lando Norris in battles for the podium on a regular basis as the 2023 Formula 1 season progresses.

He proved the MCL60 can compete with the likes of Mercedes, Aston Martin, and Ferrari. It was definitely an eye-opener to see him finish ahead of both Mercedes drivers, Fernando Alonso, and Carlos Sainz Jr.

The recent upgrade is only said to be half of the B-spec upgrade that McLaren are looking to be introducing soon. The potential for this car is quite high, considering how much of an improvement came about from only the first half of the new package. We could potentially even see McLaren get more than just a podium finish.

Oscar Piastri will be eagerly waiting for these upgrades to be installed into his car, as he finished in P16 in Austria without any improvements to his car.

The situation at McLaren is very similar to that of Williams. Alex Albon recently received upgrades that greatly improved his performance, and rookie Logan Sargeant is patiently waiting for his chance.

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It will be very exciting to see what Norris can do in Silverstone this weekend, as these upgrades were initially intended to debut at his home race. A podium finish could very well be on the cards, and the battle between the top five teams could be brutal.