Last weekend, McLaren finally introduced a significant performance upgrade for the 2023 season on Norris’ car. This allowed him to secure top-four qualifying positions for both the sprint on Saturday and the grand prix on Sunday.
Despite Mercedes and Aston Martin having an off-weekend, McLaren capitalized on the opportunity. Norris showcased an impressive drive, finishing fifth and eventually moving up to fourth after Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz received a track limits penalty.
Norris expressed his delight with the outcome and McLaren’s progress in terms of race pace. However, he admitted that maintaining control of the MCL60 was a challenging task.
“I was a bit nervous heading into the race, fearing that our race pace wouldn’t hold up, but surprisingly, it was better than expected,” Norris said. “It’s still not perfect; Fernando [Alonso] was consistently faster, and I find myself on the verge of crashing in almost every corner.”
“Nonetheless, finishing fifth [fourth after Sainz’s penalty] demonstrates that we’ve made significant strides forward, and I’m very pleased with that,” added Norris.
McLaren implemented upgrades to the car’s floor, sidepod, and engine cover, which enhanced its downforce. However, these modifications did not completely address the inherent handling issues that continue to pose challenges for Norris and his rookie teammate, Oscar Piastri.
“While the car performs better through every corner, the driving experience remains the same, and that’s the next issue we need to tackle,” Norris explained.
“We’ve been complaining about the same things throughout the year, and although they’re still present, they’re amplified. So, if we can address these problems, I believe we can have great confidence. At the moment, these issues are hindering us, so it’s not just about downforce; it’s about handling and how we manage the car. There are technical aspects that we need to understand and overcome.”
Norris remains optimistic, drawing confidence from the Red Bull Ring weekend as he looks ahead to his home race at Silverstone. The McLaren team is fully committed to delivering further upgrades.
However, while acknowledging the team’s progress with the upgrades, Norris advised caution and urged everyone to avoid getting overly excited at this stage.
“Absolutely. The car is faster, it performs better in every aspect,” Norris responded when asked about the confidence boost from the Austrian race before their home event. “However, it remains quite challenging to drive. If we had a more enjoyable or easier car to handle, with a wider performance range, we could take another significant step forward.”
“There’s still plenty to work on, and I believe more developments are in the pipeline. So, I don’t want us to get ahead of ourselves. This has been our best race of the year, and I will certainly convey that to the entire team. But for now, let’s stay focused and composed for the upcoming weekend.”
- McLaren’s F1 Upgrade Draws Inspiration from Aston Martin and Red Bull Designs
- FIA Proposed Gravel Traps at Red Bull Ring to Address Track Limit Issues
- Lewis Hamilton at a Loss for Mercedes’ Surprising Struggles in Austria
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about car handling
What upgrades did McLaren introduce for Lando Norris’ car?
McLaren introduced upgrades to the floor, sidepod, and engine cover of Lando Norris’ car, which added downforce and improved performance.
How did Lando Norris perform in the race?
Lando Norris produced a spirited drive and finished fifth in the race, which became fourth after a track limits penalty for Carlos Sainz. He expressed delight with the result and McLaren’s race pace improvements.
What challenges did Lando Norris face while driving?
Lando Norris mentioned that he was almost crashing at every corner due to the car’s handling issues. Although McLaren’s upgrades improved performance, they didn’t fully address the difficulties in driving the car.
What improvements does Lando Norris expect from McLaren?
Lando Norris believes that McLaren needs to tackle the handling issues and make the car easier to drive. He emphasized the importance of addressing technical aspects and expressed confidence that it would help them fight against faster cars.
Is McLaren planning further upgrades?
Yes, McLaren is committed to rolling out more upgrades. Lando Norris drew confidence from their progress at the Red Bull Ring and mentioned that there are more developments in the pipeline.