Lando Norris, McLaren, 2018

Norris: McLaren will give me “time to develop”

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In the round-up: Lando Norris says he doesn’t feel under pressure to deliver immediately when he makes his Formula 1 debut for McLaren next year.

What they say

Norris said he will be able to learn from McLaren’s new hire Carlos Sainz Jnr.

It’s a new challenge for myself, for the team. Two new drivers. I can learn a lot from Carlos, he’s very experienced, I rate him as a very good driver. So I can learn a lot from him.

I don’t think I need to rush anything, I can take my time. McLaren are working on all areas: on the young drivers, the new drivers, myself, the car for next year, obviously. So I don’t think there’s too much pressure. Obviously there is pressure and I need to do well and not makes mistakes but it’s not like I have to show I’m capable of winning a world championship in race one.

I have time to develop. They’re allowing me to have time to develop and become a better driver, they can help me in doing so. And of course it’s not going to be the ideal situation to be in, you never know what the car’s going to be doing next year, it could be amazing, it could be bad, you never know. But obviously we’re working on the ‘amazing’ aspect of it and trying to make it better. The we’ll see in the pre-season test.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Did Valtteri Bottas improve in 2018?

I do think he was clearly a step up from last year near the start of this season despite what happened in Australia. Even then, he didn’t look to be slow. He was actually looking quick from his previous laps that day. He made one mistake big enough to crash. But it wasn’t like Hamilton didn’t do that once or twice a season in recent years.

Bottas’s biggest problem is that when he has back luck and any team orders come into play, he does try a bit to hard to make it look like he’s following them. And often doesn’t quite seem to try hard enough to still get the best possible result. Although it has to be said, in the last few races, he seriously has helped Hamilton by holding up the others. I can’t deny it though, he was under-performing in the second half of the season. Though Hamilton i think is possibly at his best ever level. And in the recent races, I think Ferrari and Red Bull have basically matched Mercedes or been slightly better in terms of performance other than in qualifying. That and Hamilton is making Bottas look worse than he really is.

I still have a feeling Bottas is going to be able to improve enough to get a seat in 2020. Ocon may look close to getting that, but they wouldn’t have said Bottas had an option for 2020 for nothing. At the moment, I don’t see it being any more likely that Ocon will get it than Bottas keeping it if he has a solid year. As by then, Bottas will have had three years as well as four with another team. He will be much better in terms of feedback and experience. And if I’m honest, he and Hamilton do look like they get on well which in one way is very good for the team. Also, Mercedes were one of only two teams that kept both drivers for next year. They must be more happy than a good deal of teams were with their drivers. And they did have a chance to get Ocon. But something must have put them off enough to keep Bottas. We can’t tell just yet if Ocon is going to convince them enough to make the swap. As cruel as it would be on Ocon to not let him race for yet another year, I’m not really sure what people have seen that makes them think Ocon would do a better job than Bottas.
Adam (@Rocketpanda)

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Keith Collantine
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  • 43 comments on “Norris: McLaren will give me “time to develop””

    1. Does Norris realize that McLaren’s definition of “time to develop” is probably much shorter than he thinks?

      1. I admire his optimism, but looking at their track record with young drivers, even under the haloed “Ron Dennis Era”, he’s in for a big shock. Brown has admitted that the team has had a terrible record with young’uns, Hamilton being the only successful driver to come out of the McLaren paddock in recent years. We’ll have to see what Gil de Ferran does, having a truly fresh driver to mould and an entire pre-season and season to do so.

        The only thing in Lando’s favour is that he is likely to have much more influence relative to Sainz than SVD had relative to Alonso, and might actually be able to get a car built to his liking, rather than struggling with a package that isn’t optimal, as Vandoorne claimed. And hopefully the team gets its shizz together and gives a decently performing vehicle, and knows what’s wrong with a car when it doesn’t perform.

        1. I predict McLaren will be much improved next year, because Alonso is gone. I think he has a really screwed up way of developing a car that only he can drive, and doesn’t actually extract the maximum potential of the hardware. I think it’s a big reason why he always trounces teammates, but was never able to get another championship.

          1. @grippgoat Such a weird comment. It’s like you haven’t watched much F1. Alonso came to within a few points of the championship in the Ferrari, and for that and many other examples is widely known for his talent to extract the most out of the machinery. I don’t even know where to go with your comment “Screwing up the car so only he can drive it”.

            1. @balue is it, now? The thing is, when was the last time fernandos team actually moved up the Grid? Ferrari improved massively with Vettel (and maybe rai, if you wanna make that Argument) there. Also back in the day with Schumacher. With Fernando? Sidestepping at best. Mclaren? Improved over the post 09 era back to Form, famed in-season developement, with Fernando….?
              Second stint at Renault? Massive donkey of a car by season 2. Mclaren #1? Season Lost to infighting.
              So the answer to my question is Renault, 2005. Fairly long time to be completely down to coincidence don’t You think?

            2. Mike’s comment sounds like it’s based on that lame conspiracy theory that was created to soothe the collective cognitive dissonance of the worst of Räikkönen’s fans in 2014. Clearly, the most parsimonious explanation for the gaping chasm between Alonso’s and Räikkönen’s performances couldn’t be a difference in the driver’s abilities. No, Alonso, being his maleficent self, somehow had to be to blame for it … by screwing up the car deliberately, so that only he could still barely drive it.
              (Ironically, this conspiracy theory requires Alonso to be a genius that makes comic supervillains look slow-witted. Knowing his own and his rival’s strengths so well that he knows exactly what a car should be like to make him look good, convincing his team to build a car exactly like that [in a sport where even the relatively straightforward goal of making a car go quicker is every bit as complicated as rocket science and can occasionally backfire, so clearly, he must be on another level] and also to make it completely unfixable, that sounds like the kind of task that would be too much to ask from a crew of 800 highly specialised engineers with a budget of half a billion squid per season. But there you have it, Alonso thought it out all by himself
              and convinced absolutely everybody to play along …
              It’s as if millions of neurons suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.)

              So, yeah: This comment is the utmost rubbish.

            3. Exactly. And overall, taking a story about Norris to bizarrely diss Alonso in itself clearly explains what’s the real point being made here. Shouldn’t really have taken the bait but sometimes it’s hard not to.

            4. @mrboerns, except, during most of his stint at Ferrari, Ferrari themselves admitted that they were botching the cars themselves.

              That period of time coincided with a period of time when Ferrari tried to upgrade their wind tunnel from being able to run 50% scale models to 60% scale models, only to then spend years chasing after persistent calibration problems and malfunctioning equipment.

              They ended up having to ship quite a bit of their work out to Sauber and to the TMG wind tunnel instead, but because those two wind tunnels were also slightly differently calibrated, then had difficulty in marrying the results from those two different wind tunnels up with theirs, causing further problems with developing the car.

              Equally, their first turbo engine in 2014 was something of a disaster, to the point where Ferrari outsourced the development of that engine to a third party – AVL – ahead of the 2015 season.

              Asides from those problems, there was the internal infighting as Sergio Marchionne was working to push Luca di Montezemolo out of Ferrari, and in the process was also imposing a major restructuring on Ferrari during 2013 and 2014. There were dozens of senior designers who were either fired or shifted into new roles, and entire divisions were merged or reorganised to report to different leaders.

              You say that Ferrari “improved massively with Vettel”, but rather it looked a lot more like Vettel had the fortune to move to Ferrari at the right time – in other words, after they’d paid AVL to sort out their engine and after Marchionne had completed his restructuring of the team.

            5. @mrboerns

              when was the last time Fernando’s team actually moved up the Grid?

              Like in most teams he drove for there was a significant improvement when he joined.
              Renault1: 4th to 3rd to 1st
              McLaren1: 3rd to ‘most points’
              Ferrari: 4th to 3rd to 2nd

            6. @Coldfly
              Renault (1st time) no argument there.
              What is very debatable i think is the influence during the first season with a new team, as in, the car is probably mostly sorted once the driver joins (means i tend to disagree with, for example, some people arguing Mercedes’ upswing in 2013 was due to Hamilton’s influence), so, the 2007 Mclaren probably cannot be used to gauge Alonso’s technical input. What you can of course see is the trouble on the operational side he (co-)caused.
              2008 Renault, well, same argument, of course some improvment over the season and good driving from alonso’s part (also the worst instance of cheating ever, but that is irrelevant for now), than the 2009 car an absolute donkey. Moves to Ferrari, solid performance, but also (once again) car probably mostly finished once he joins. the 2011 Ferrari didn’t set the world alight. the 2012 one was terrible out of the box but improved to be one of the three top cars, i’ll admit. the 2013 car started well enough but fell off. the 2014 car was again mostly a disaster (and don’t blame it on the engine, Red Bull and Mclaren are living proof that engines alone don’t make a package). Then the Mclaren years, nothing moved forward. and once again, i think Red Bull are proof that you can still make things work out with an inferior engine.

              Now, the thing i see is the following:
              Schumacher joins a desastrous Ferrari, takes some time, world beaters.
              Räikkönen (with his development reputation) joins ferrari, then vettel, all 4 Ferraris since then started the season as rather competitive challengers, yes the 2016 one fell off, and the 2105 one was still quite off the merc, but they eventually hauled in the mercs.
              Merc developed with schumacher, rosberg and then Hamilton joining from midfield tyremunchers into the most dominant car in f1 history apart from maybe the 50ies mercs and the (F2) ferraris of Alboreto.
              I just don’t think that at this point you can still blame it solely on luck that Alonso didn’t find himself in better cars more often. My opinion.

            7. fair point, @mrboerns, and I respect your opinion.
              I guess it’s very difficult to assess the real impact a driver has on the performance improvement of the car (development).
              I’m not sure about Who drove What at Ferrari. I still believe that Arrivabene had a big impact on the internal workings of the team, and was the driving force behind talented people starting to work together rather than against each other.

            8. @mrboerns, then, by that logic, you could condemn Kimi for the fact that Ferrari went backwards in competitiveness in 2009 when they produced the F60, a car that was designed entirely during Kimi’s tenure at the team – I note that you seem to have glossed over the bits that don’t conveniently tally with the narrative that you want to tell.

            9. @mrboerns

              Not surprised to see you jump on another anti-Alonso bandwagon.

              The thing is, when was the last time fernandos team actually moved up the Grid?

              Hmm.. let’s see.
              Renault became a championship winning team within two years of his arrival. McLaren in 2007 became the championship winning car from the 3rd quickest in 2006. In 2008, Renault stepped up their performance from 2007 with his arrival, although Renault got the 2009 rule change massively wrong and they moved backwards in 2009. Ferrari also had a stronger 2010 season than they did in 2009. I think it was fairly obvious to see that Ferrari had correlation issues with their wind tunnel, considering that they’ve openly admitted to the litany of issues they had faced during his era.

              First of all, it’s ridiculous to suggest that a team like Ferrari actually moved forwards with the arrival of Vettel. They had reshuffled their entire management, including their engineering departments. But it’s cute how you like to give this credit of car development to Sebastian. Maybe he should have learnt how to drive the car he was designing and Ferrari could have had a couple of championships.

            10. @mrboerns

              It’s nice how you change the logic to suit your argument. So, now if the driver’s input is felt from the 2nd or 3rd season of his arrival… let’s see which other top tier drivers are terrible at developing a car.

              Hamilton – By your logic Hamilton had zero input on his Mclaren in 2007. In 2008, the Mclaren actually moved behind the Ferrari on pace. By 2009, Mclaren had built a boat (Hamilton’s own words).
              Verdict – Hamilton is rubbish at developing a car

              Vettel – Vettel joined Ferrari in 2015, and they had a great recovery year… but obviously this wasn’t Sebastian’s input. His input was felt in the 2016 car, which was disastrous once again.
              Verdict – Vettel is rubbish at developing a car

              Ricciardo – Ricciardo joined Red Bull in 2014. Since 2014 they haven’t really moved forwards. They moved backwards in 2015, slightly forward in 2016 and then again backwards for the next 2 seasons.
              Verdict – Ricciardo is rubbish at developing a car.

              There’s absolutely zero logic to any of your statements. It doesn’t take in to consideration any of the issues faced by those particular teams at that particular time, or any of the external factors. Clearly the failure and success of a car’s performance depends solely on the driver in your books… which is absolutely nonsensical.

              You go on to mention Schumacher’s examples without even mentioning the ridiculous advantage they had with their dream team, their political influence and their unlimited testing at the time. Then go on to say how Schumacher developed a championship winning car for Hamilton and Rosberg. I haven’t read more BS in my entire life. Mercedes became a championship contending team as soon as Schumacher left the team.

              I wonder if you actually believe what you’ve written.. or knew that you wanted to put down Alonso and then spewed out a convoluted logic to favour your end result.

        2. Lando will get the time he needs to develop at McLaren, his dad is worth nearly £200m

      2. I don’t think this is optimism, but rather a plea. There’s nothing we know that he doesn’t know as well, after all, he’s got better, closer view.

      3. He should making a good impression end of the season otherwise he is out F1 waits for noone….

    2. Re. CotD:
      “I’m not really sure what people have seen that makes them think Ocon would do a better job than Bottas.”
      The thing that immediately came to mind was that Ocon was always ‘fighting’ with Perez – he never relaxed and let Perez get on with it…
      Ocon’s relative inexperience is his major drawback v. Bottas. But if Merc. are considering an eventual replacement for HAM, Ocon must surely be a better option

      1. If I remember well, I,veseen some Ocon races in Dtm and he did no seem brilliant.

      2. I rate Perez and Bottas at a fairly similar level. Bottas is a tad better on Saturday, Perez is better on Sunday. The fact that Ocon is only a match for Perez after two seasons of experience does suggest that he’s probably not that special. He might be an upgrade on Bottas, but it would be a marginal one.

        I also think that Russell has more potential than Ocon.

        1. I myself have rated Perez slightly below Bottas. Each year, I think he’s made at least 1 mistake that is bigger than any Bottas has ever made. Perez is better at managing tyres, but overall, I think Bottas would get more points over a season. He likely would have beaten Perez at the end of 2016 despite Williams looking weaker than Force India near the end of the season. That would be if he didn’t have a puncture or retirement over the last few races. Still think Perez is close to him though.

          The other think regarding Ocon is that Perez seems better at getting the results in the races. Ocon seems to be a bit weaker here. I also think that Bottas having 3 years experience at Mercedes and 4 at Williams would give Bottas the advantage. Despite Ocon being at the team for a year, he just won’t be as familiar as Bottas. So If Bottas performs neaxt season, even just slightly better, it probably won’t be worth the swap, no matter how cruel it would be on Ocon.

      3. Hey gus maia, Kingshark, and Ben Rowe…
        Thanks for your comments – I agree it might be a difficult choice for Toto, especially when he needs a replacement for Lewis…
        F1 needs (at the moment) just 3-4 ‘A’ drivers… It’ll be interesting to see if Russell can quickly make that grade…

    3. To be fair, what could be working in Norris’ favor is that McLaren doesn’t have any extremely promising talents in its ranks right now (at least one that isn’t ready for F1). For Perez, he had Magnussen waiting in the wings. For Magnussen, he had Vandoorne, and for Vandoorne, he had Norris. So unless someone in the McLaren academy ends up showing world beating potential in the next two seasons or so, I think Norris will get time. Not to mention how he’s probably lower down the development curve than McLaren’s previous “young” drivers.

      1. Drivers who enter in F1 around the age of 25 never really improve much after their rookie season. Vandoorne, Grosjean, Maldonado, Liuzzi, etc… these drivers never showed any real signs of progression in their F1 career. Even Montoya didn’t really develop after the second half of 2001.

        Drivers who enter F1 at a young age (Verstappen, Vettel, Rosberg, Button) usually improve at a much steeper rate.

    4. I have time to develop. They’re allowing me to have time to develop and become a better driver

      in his complimentary deck chair, loads and loads of time

    5. I’m sure that was me who wrote the caption of the day :D Unless Adam (@Rocketpanda has started doing things for the site. Guessing this is just a mistake though.

      1. Lol! @thegianthogweed I guess we get to share?

        (Its all you, really! I’m just here to look pretty)

        1. Congrats to both you guys (I went back to the article to read @rocketpanda‘s comment).
          @thegianthogweed

      2. @keithcollantine, not sure if you noticed our discussion. I don’t want to make it sound like i think too much of myself, but i think the COTD was my comment, and not (@rocketpanda). Although he seems happy that it is his at the moment ;)

        1. Oh it was absolutley yours lol @thegianthogweed :)

          I’m glad I could share your limelight!

    6. ”How often does it happen that you overtake two Ferrari’s and two Mercedes’s on track?”
      – He overtook LH through the pit stop phase rather than on the track, though. The Ferraris and VB, yes, but with Ham, he caught him up but couldn’t get past until he came into the pits for his scheduled stop and then managed to keep the gap significant enough to rejoin ahead of him after his own scheduled stop. That’s how he got himself into the lead.

      Overall, an interesting column by Hakkinen although I don’t necessarily agree 100% with the ”sport is in good hands” part. Since LM took over as the commercial rights holders of F1, I have this whole time had mixed views about whether F1 in the long-term is in good hands or not. Yes, some of the things done since then have been good, but there have also been a few changes that weren’t absolutely necessary to be made.

      I thoroughly agree with the COTD.

      1. @jerejj
        Did you watch the Brazilian GP? I’m fairly certain that I saw Verstappen overtake Hamilton on track on lap 39.

        1. @kingshark Now I recall the move again. After seeing your reply, I had to think hard about it and also looked up for the lap chart of that race just in case, and then it suddenly came back to my mind. Somehow I had forgotten that move for a while, but now I can recall how it went. He passed Hamilton into T1 about five laps before the infamous race outcome-deciding incident with Ocon. He came back from the pits behind LH, but re-caught him and then a few laps after having gotten into his DRS window finally managed to pass him into T1 only to, of course, then later lose the race through no fault of his own. I just remembered that portion of the race slightly differently for a little while, so I thought maybe the move (when I was still pondering whether it happened or not) wasn’t shown on the world feed or something, but yes, now I recall that the way I did during the race, so, therefore, I take some of my words back.

          https://www.fia.com/events/fia-formula-one-world-championship/season-2018/lap-chart-18

          1. I had to think hard about it and also looked up for the lap chart of that race just in case, and then it suddenly came back to my mind. Somehow I had forgotten that move for a while,

            here are more Hamilton fans with a slightly distorted view on reality. So it’s no problem, you are not the only one ;)

            1. erikje – give it a rest, boy… these comments make you look about fourteen… ;-)

            2. @erikje I’m not even a Hamilton fan, though, LOL.

            3. But i am not 14.. sob…..
              And not only Hamilton fans have distorted views ;)

              The real problem is i already corrected that “view: earlier.. its not the first time Jere made this mistake. But repeating it does not makes it a reality.

            4. erikje – you missed the point – again.
              I did not accuse you of being fourteen… I suggested your actions/attitudes make you look like a 14-year-old…! And every time people childishly retaliate they appear to be even younger…
              Go figure…

      2. @jerejj Liberty Media has had a relative blink in time in F1 compared to what BE had to bring it to where it is now, good, bad, or indifferent. Much of F1 is still living with the BE effect and there has only been so much Liberty can change in these early days while contracts from the BE era still exist and have to run out. Aside from that Liberty also said from day one they wanted to deliberately take time and sort out F1 and get all the teams on board in a well thought out manner, rather than going the knee jerk reaction way. So of course they have only been able, and only wanted to anyway, make some small steps for now to set things up for a new look F1 starting in 2021.

        1. Robbie – you’re probably right. People do seem to expect miracles… and preferably yesterday.

    7. Sebastian Vettel could learn a lot from Max “I blame myself for that” Verstappen.

    8. 6 races- just like Checo & K-Mag? He may need a few more in that car, hope they make progress..

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