Lando Norris has no doubt McLaren is on the right track following a second half of the F1 season to remember for the team.
Following the implementation of upgrades on the MCL60 at the Austrian Grand Prix, and again in Singapore, after a wretched start over the first nine races, the car and season were transformed.
As Norris pointed out, and recognising a season does not work in such a way, but if taken from the race in Spielberg onwards, he would have finished runner-up in the drivers' championship, and the team second in the constructors' standings.
Instead, the Briton was fifth overall, and the team fourth, but with the hope now it can start next season as it finished this year.
“For us to catch Mercedes, for us to catch Ferrari in terms of pace, we've been behind them for two years,” said Norris, with regard to the introduction of new aerodynamic regulations at the start of last year.
“They've not really taken any steps forward, and we've taken a massive step forward.
“There are plenty more things we know we can improve on, a few more bits of the puzzle to put together but we have found the key pieces, and it's a good time for us. We know what direction to go in.”
It was a different story at the start of the year as McLaren openly conceded it was behind in its development, resulting in Norris and rookie team-mate Oscar Piastri scoring just 17 points between them over those first nine races.
“If you go back to Bahrain (first race of the year), looking ahead, I was dreading the season,” said Norris.
“So to come away with seven podiums (personally), and all the great moments we've had, they were definitely not expected.
“I've got to thank the team for all of that, a world record pitstop (1.80secs in Qatar), and all of those things. The team has done an amazing job in so many areas.
“I'm really very proud of the whole team. We're on the right track, so I'm excited for next year.
“We have some new hires, guys coming in '24. Maybe not everything they can bring to us we will have on the car straight away.
“But some things we already know now, we've learned over the last four, five, six months. From the progress we've made, we've learned a lot.
“I just want to start next season off well. If we can start well in Bahrain, then I'll be a lot more excited.”
The question is: how to stop Red Bull and Max Verstappen next year?
The Dutch driver has set numerous records this year on his way to the most dominant season in F1 history.
With the current regulations set for the next two years, there is every danger Verstappen could continue to rule through to 2026 when new engine rules will change the fundamental architecture of the car.
Sizing up the task ahead for next season, Norris said: “Their car is phenomenal, Red Bull is doing an amazing job.
“They have done the last few years, so for anyone to catch them is going to be a massive step. They're not just quicker with pace, they're a lot better with degradation, and Max is one of the best drivers, so it's a tough combination to beat.
“But I feel like we're almost getting what we need to begin to challenge.”