Lando Norris, McLaren,. Melbourne, 2019

Norris: More tests wouldn’t have improved my F1 debut

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In the round-up: Lando Norris says the opportunity to do more testing wouldn’t have meant he was better prepared for his F1 debut.

What they say

Norris did a series of tests and practice sessions for McLaren during 2017 and 2018, before making his race debut for them this year:

I think even if I did another year of testing, I would have been the same.

Just going into things you can’t prepare for necessarily, the pressure of going into qualifying, the pressure of going into the race, thinking about however many things. There’s so many you can practice in pre-season testing and everything, but it still all changes when you’re in the moment of doing qualifying and you’re doing the race.

The pressure, and racing people, it’s all very different to just testing. Sometimes I was fast in testing and I’d be just as quick as Fernando [Alonso] or just as quick as Stoffel [Vandoorne] and that gave me a bit of confidence. But it didn’t mean anything, it didn’t mean I would be going into Australia and be able to nail qualifying and then nail the race. It’s completely different.

That’s why another year of testing wouldn’t have changed how I thought about any of that.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Is Alexander Albon really that much better than his Red Bull predecessor?

I really don’t buy into the hype so far around Albon. I’m yet to see a single performance in the Red Bull that I’ve been overly impressed with. In fact, his only real stand-out performance this year was Germany in my opinion, where he was one of the best in the field. He’s been more aggressive and decisive than Gasly, but has still achieved only the bare minimum (to finish in the top six at almost every race).

I think he’s an exciting prospect and I’m looking forward to watching him next year after a year of experience. I still expect him to fall short against Verstappen, but perhaps that’s all Red Bull needs. Even Ricciardo was struggling massively towards the end of his time there.
Ben Needham (@ben-n)

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  • 23 comments on “Norris: More tests wouldn’t have improved my F1 debut”

    1. Will people stop saying now that there’s no chance of Alonso coming back to F1? If he gets a good seat why wouldn’t he?

      1. @carbon_fibre

        Maybe because he will have been out of F1 for 2 full seasons and is getting old? Mclaren have already said he will not be replacing there drivers. Only way he would be considerd is if Hamilton or Vet retire and i highly doubt that happens. Maybe Vet retires Lewis goes to Ferrari and Max to Merc, im sure Red Bull would be ringing the phone. That is the only scenario i can see, Redbull as a number one driver. Alonso is a smart man he would not go and join Max or Lewis 2 years out of F1 and nearly 40 it would not be pretty.

        We all know Ferrari is a big no no, so why would he come back? Only RedBull and Merc he will think he can win and he will need someone to leave F1 for it to happen. I personally hope he comes back instead of Vettel tbh. I have alot more faith in Alo even with 2 years out than i do Vettel.

      2. The problem is not whether Alonso would or wouldn’t come back if he were to get a good seat, but that there is no good seat available for him.

        Maybe he could go back to Renault or McLaren but it’s unlikely (although not impossible, with new regs you never know) either one of them will be fighting for victories and championships in 2021.

        1. Martin Brundle reckons Renault.

          I don’t think Ferrari is completely out the question, the bridges he burned there are no longer relevant as the management structure has changed entirely, and he would definitely outperform the embarrassment that is Sebastian Vettel whilst Charles could grow in maturity similar to how Max has done.

          Ferrari could win a double championship with Leclerc and Alonso.

          1. Brundle reckons Renault.

            If so, Alonso will be keeping a very sharp eye on what happens with Renault and Ricciardo in 2020. They need to make two massive steps forward – one to beat McLaren, and one to get out of the midfield. It seems unlikely, given their trajectory over the recent years, but hey, if McLaren could come good so quickly, maybe Renault finally can as well.

            1. If so, Alonso will be keeping a very sharp eye on what happens with Renault and Ricciardo in 2020.

              @phylyp yes and no, because the entire aim of 2021 is to close up the field and the regulations are so drastically different you have to think that the 2020 form book should be irrelevant.

              Personally I think Ricciardo is outta there after next season.

          2. and he would definitely outperform the embarrassment that is Sebastian Vettel

            And that is what we call “fan fiction”.

            1. “And that is what we call “fan fiction””

              haha..we will never know for sure, but if you look at the performances of Vettel, it’s hard not imagine that Fernando in that car could have wiped the floor (ok maybe not as comprehensively) with him. I have followed Alonso’s entire F1 career, he has never had a season(s) where he has continuously made errors and/or exhibit inconsistency. He is driver that always gets the maximum out of the package. I think his stats v teammates speaks volumes.

              Call it what you will, number 1 status, got made special pancakes in the morning treatment blah blah, the fact is, the driver still has to go out there and do it. Schumacher’s record speaks for itself, so does Lewis’. Seb on the other hand, the moment he is confronted with a challenge, he just capsizes.

              So, I don’t think its too much fiction tbh.

      3. He aims to win Indy 500 but not doing a full season with one team. He keeps his door open to F1 but is two years away too much. He won Le Mans but went to Dakar. I think he has shown everyone that he can race almost everything but he’s not young anymore and time starts to run out.

        Raikkonen is doing well in his 40s but should he just aim for one thing and win the Indy 500 and get the triple crown?

    2. Regarding the russian ban, isn’t F1 kinda in a lose-lose situation there? They have signed into WADA and they have a signed contract for the Russian GP, and however they choose, one of those things must be broken, as they seem mutually exclusive. The Russian promoters highlighting their existing contract does not seem surprising nor very impactful in this circumstance, it’s just standard to what contract-holders do in such a situation.

      Also: Will Kvyat run under neutral flag, or Italian (where he spent his youth), or what will he do, and what are his options?

    3. So the WADA ruling on Russia says:

      Where the right to host a Major Event in the Four-Year Period has already been awarded to Russia, the Signatory must withdraw that right and re-assign the event to another country, unless it is legally or practically impossible to do so.

      The promoter mentions the ‘legally or practically impossible to do so’ bit, but who’s actually going to decide that? WADA, the FIA, some international court? The word ‘impossible’ is pretty strong…

      And I wondered about Kvyat as well. If athletes aren’t allowed to represent Russia in a ‘major event’, which the F1 World Championship is, does he have to race under a neutral flag now?

      1. FlyingLobster27
        10th December 2019, 17:29

        @neilosjames I wouldn’t be surprised if motor racing wasn’t affected by this decision, because, get this: apparently the UEFA European Football Championships, Euro 2020, is NOT a major event. Russia will compete and host matches in that competition.
        Source: https://www.bbc.com/sport/olympics/50710598

        For the sake of argument, let’s say that the FIA F1 World Championship does qualify as a “major event”. Does every other FIA World Championship fit that billing? Will drivers like Roman Rusinov (WEC) or Timur Timerzyanov (WRX) continue to compete as Russians or have to go neutral? I don’t think so.

    4. So, could Nandito be returning home at Renault for a 3rd stint? Feels like it.

      1. Only if Danny Ric jumps ship which should be a strong possibility.

        1. To clarify, because of salary demands for those two drivers.

    5. Can´t agree with you on that one, @ben-n

      Being lined up against Verstappen is a daunting task. And it does not get any easier when you get the call in the middle of the season.. your first season.

      Albon was pretty close to Verstappen on most of the tracks, even on those that he had not driven before to, and his race craft improved too. I guess it might be easy to forget, but he was well on his way to secure a well earned podium at the Brazilian GP when he got punted by Hamilton.

      Alex Albon is the “Rookie of the Year” imo.

      Cheers
      JCC

      1. @jccase, was he really that close to Verstappen? He wasn’t in qualifying performance, where he usually qualified close to 0.45s behind him, and in race trim he was usually fairly far behind as well.

        Even in Brazil, that potential podium position is something of a red herring, as it required other drivers to retire from in front of him, plus a safety car that some felt was more about manipulating the field into a close finish, to put him into that position. Without that, in normal circumstances Albon probably wouldn’t have been on that podium.

        I do feel a little like we have the problem that there is a bias towards assuming the best rookie is the one with the highest points total, even though that may be more of a reflection of the quality of the car he drove instead of the quality of the driver.

    6. I highly doubt Alonso would get back to a race-drive in F1, firstly because he will have been two full-seasons away from racing in the series by the season after next, and secondly, because of the competition for the drives by the younger generation of drivers, etc.

      “The contract for holding the Russian round of the Formula 1 World Championship was signed in 2010”
      – Then why did the Russian GP only debut four years later, not in 2011, ’12, nor ’13?

      While the COTD has some validity in its point, I still don’t thoroughly agree with it. He was more consistent in both the pace and results over the remaining nine GP-weekends than his predecessor was in the first twelve, and has fewer problems in traffic, which was one of the main factors behind the in-season swap. I expect him to be at least closer to his teammate next season than he’s been thus far.

      1. Then why did the Russian GP only debut four years later

        Because they had to build an Olympic venue and hold the Olympics first.

      2. – Then why did the Russian GP only debut four years later, not in 2011, ’12, nor ’13?

        Because the track hadnt been built. And thank god, the less Sochi the better.

      3. @jerejj, as others have noted, the reason for that is because it pre-dated the Winter Olympics, and the Olympic Committee made it crystal clear that there would be absolutely no circumstances under which construction on the track could take place if that work presented any risk of causing a delay to the Winter Olympics.

    7. @COTD, I think it’s worth hyping a driver who has next to zero experience with an F1 car with little backing by an F1 team, no tests, and then dropped into an F1 race drive at extreme short notice. Then promoted from a midfield car to a front-running machine alongside one of the strongest drivers on the grid and did marginally better than the guy he replaced – one who was considerably more experienced than him.

      Mercedes didn’t even consider Russell for Bottas’s seat, and Ferrari still insisted Leclerc do a whole year with Sauber Romeo before promoting him. Red Bull really threw Alex Albon in at the deep end with extreme pressure and he didn’t sink, which has to be appreciated and rookie of the year was 100% deserved. Next year he’s got to make the next step, so we’ll see how that pans out. But celebrating a very fine rookie year’s certainly acceptable.

    8. Fernando Alonso has a similar aura as Michael Schumacher – hate it or love it, but you just cannot notice him when he is on the track. His talent is obvious, so F1 can only get better and more intriguing with Alonso in 2021. Still, Fernando has some other exiting goals to achieve – Indy500 win, for example, so I’m sure it’s not a tragedy for him if he will not come back to F1.

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