Verstappen admits McLaren could be ‘very strong’ in 2024 following impressive turnaround
Max Verstappen has namechecked McLaren as a team he will be keeping his eye on in the build-up to the new F1 season, saying their progress through 2023 was the “most impressive” of Red Bull’s rivals.
McLaren were point-less after the first two races last year but a technical reshuffle and sizeable mid-season upgrade package thrust Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri into podium contention – and so nearly yielded a victory.
Given the Woking team’s rate of progress and competitive end to the campaign, reigning triple world champion Verstappen feels there is potential for McLaren to be “very strong” out of the blocks in 2024.
Assessing the season gone by and looking ahead to the next in an appearance on Red Bull’s Talking Bull podcast, Verstappen said: “We were the only team that was really consistent [in 2023].
“Behind us, it was really up and down, one team second, then another team… That’s where the battle was quite close behind us. It will all depend on how much they will improve in the winter time.
“The one I think that was most impressive behind us from where they started to where they ended was definitely McLaren. It looks like they might be very strong next year.”
After winning an incredible 19 out of 22 races last year, Verstappen also discussed how he plans to approach the upcoming campaign as he bids to make it three world titles on the bounce and top up his championship tally to four.
“Every year is a little bit different,” said the Dutchman, when asked if he will do anything differently. “It also depends, of course, on how good the car is going to be.
“But I think you also just rely a lot on your experience, you’ve experienced already a lot in your career and in F1 and you know that if you want to fight for a championship, the most important thing is the car.
“Beside that, your performances need to be very consistent and that’s something you have to try and achieve again. Every single year is a new challenge to try and do that.”