McLaren CEO Zak Brown believes Lando Norris' performances against Daniel Ricciardo in 2021 has given the team "validation" of the Briton's talent.
Norris was one of the standout performers in F1 last season and for much of the campaign troubled Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull's Sergio Perez for third in the drivers' standings before McLaren's performance tailed off towards the end of the year.
Despite Ricciardo's race-winning experience from his Red Bull days and his victory with McLaren in Monza, Norris outscored his more experienced team-mate by 45 points.
With the team rebuilding from a barren spell in the middle of the previous decade without a world champion in its ranks, Brown told media including GPFans at the end of last season that he was pleased with the steps taken with the current drivers.
“We’ve always had, first and foremost, race-winning drivers and usually world champions," he explained.
"That was one of the appeals of getting Daniel in the car. Winning multiple grands prix gives you a bit of a benchmark and that demonstrates how good Lando is.
“That is not a surprise to us but you want that validation.
“We now have two drivers capable of winning grands prix, one that has done it and one that will no doubt do it.
“And I don’t think you have to have a world champion in the car. I think what you need to have are two drivers that you think are capable of being world champions and I am very confident we have that."