Lando Norris, McLaren, Silverstone, 2021

Mercedes look less comfortable than last season – Norris

2021 F1 season

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Lando Norris says Mercedes appeared to have a more difficult start to the season than usual in last week’s pre-season test.

The world champions have seldom shown their true pace in testing before the start of the season. However Norris saw signs the team is not in its usual position of comfortable dominance.

“It’s always the same with testing,” said Norris. “Mercedes looked terrible over the last few days and maybe not quite as comfortable as what they have done over the last few years.

“The last few years they’ve been slow [in testing] but everyone knows they’re going to be quick. But the last few days, they just looked like they struggled or made some more mistakes here and there. Maybe not quite as comfortable.”

Norris declared himself satisfied with the progress McLaren made in testing following their switch back to Mercedes power, which the team last used in 2014.

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“It’s difficult to know what everyone’s doing,” said Norris. “You have to wait and see.

Lando Norris, McLaren, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021
McLaren “have a decent car”, Norris believes
“But at the same time, I think we can be confident we have a decent car. We have things to work on, for sure, it’s not all wonderful and perfect. But I’m happy and I’m just excited to get things started.”

Formula 1 introduced new aerodynamic restrictions over the off-season aimed at slowing the cars. However, speaking after testing ended on Sunday, Norris said the pace set by Max Verstappen shows the new rules have only been partially successful.

“I think from the lap times like Max did today and what a lot of people did today – and I’m sure they’re not full power or low fuel, qualifying fuel – they’re going to be going even quicker,” he said. “We’re already not that far off what they did in qualifying.

“So it’s not that much slower and the conditions are probably worse now, the rubber is not as good now as the race weekend. It’s a little bit slower.

“I’m sure by the time we get to halfway through the season or something [lap times are] going to be reasonably similar.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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12 comments on “Mercedes look less comfortable than last season – Norris”

  1. Mercedes looked a bit unstable in corners (the low speed ones) but i expect them in front of the pack. RB will be much more closer then last year.

    1. Usually, Mercedes are the power house in number of laps during pre season testing, so even if they’re not that quick during the pre-season test, they show up with a raft of upgrades for the first race and sail away in to the distance.

      This year their biggest disadvantage is not having enough data to develop upgrades before March 28th. I still think they’ll show up fighting for pole.. but I think Red Bull will show up better prepared and might be the team to beat in the opening few races.

      1. Mercedes were not even driving their true car yet. That’s why they planned the filming day after testing. Obviously they’ve got something they didn’t want their competitors to see yet. Probably their innovative solution to the back end of the car.

  2. Mercedes does not look “terrible”. They have been leading development in the hybrid era and don’t see any reason they would be unable to get on top of any immediate concern.

    1. @pinakghosh Indeed. I fully agree.

    2. Yes, we know that but at this particular moment after this test, Red Bull has a more balanced car which looks more comfortable to drive. Mercedes will eventually get onto top of their issue, if they are not fundamental, so their drivers will just have adapt till then.

  3. Sometimes I think Lando either needs to engage brain before speaking or simply stop talking
    Imagine if the team heads actually think this as well!!

    1. @banbrorace What exactly did he say that is so controversial?

      1. Didn’t say it was controversial

        I’m saying, if you’re in an opposing team – you watch what you say. Lando frequently doesn’t – it’s great for ius as he’s way too honest

        Incidentally, I like him or lot and hope he has a great season. I just don’t think it’s wise to say anything remotely critical about Mercedes, when we know their history

        1. How is it not wise for him to say exacly what all sky f1 reporters, other stations f1 reporters and pretty much all written f1 press already said?

  4. And McLaren doesn’t like revenge, which Aston Martin actually like.

  5. McLaren-Aston Martin: Will the Aston Martin squad secretly team up and foul Norris constantly – like what they did with Verstappen as Racing Point? Soon, we will all know…

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