Lando Norris has admitted to feeling some "relief" after seeing McLaren, which he has committed to until the end of 2025, make significant gains in Formula 1.
McLaren has been slipping backwards in recent years, which led to wholesale changes to the technical structure and to its Woking infrastructure, projects overseen by incoming team boss Andrea Stella and by CEO Zak Brown.
While the benefits from its new wind tunnel and other facilities won't be tangible until next year, McLaren has already been reaping the rewards from its structural overhaul, which led to the production of a B-spec of its 2023 MCL60 which has yielded two second-place finishes for Norris in Silverstone and Budapest.
McLaren's major step forward has also eased concerns about Norris' future in the team. The Briton, who has never raced for a different squad in F1, was subject to plenty of rumours and speculation in recent months despite being tied to McLaren until the end of 2025.
But now the team has delivered significant progress and has been able to mix it up with the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and Aston Martin, Norris has admitted to feeling some relief that McLaren has what it takes to turn its fortunes around.
"I guess there's always a bit of relief, just going from any difficult situation to having such a big change around," he replied when asked by Motorsport.com if there was a sense of reassurance about McLaren's recent results and performances given his long-term deal.
"Even if we took half the step we did take, I think we still would have seen that as a positive sign. But the step was even bigger than we were expecting. So, of course, it's a relief, but not just for myself, I think for the whole team.
"We kind of took quite a big step back over the winter to reassess everything that we're doing, and the route we're taking and that's why we were quite delayed with putting the upgrades that we've had in place and onto the car. But we took our time and we had to stay patient."
When asked if he ever had any second thoughts about signing a bumper contract extension in 2022, Norris said: "There are frustrating times and just difficult times, but at no point did I think: ‘This is not where I want to be.’
"Of course, there are times when I wished we had a more competitive car and I wished that we could have started the year in a smoother way. It doesn't give you a lot of hope in beginning of the year when you struggle as much as what we did.
"But I'm still always very happy to be with the team that I'm with, I still have a lot of faith that McLaren are able to achieve their goals and at the same time achieve my goals, which is to win races and to win championships with them.
"And when you have upgrades and situations like this, then of course there's relief. These are very positive signs that we can jump ahead of Aston, jump ahead of Ferrari, fight against Mercedes and not be far off a Red Bull from one upgrade."