Lando Norris, McLaren, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Beating Mercedes and Red Bull “almost impossible” for McLaren in 2022 – Norris

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In the round-up: Lando Norris doesn’t expect McLaren to get on terms with F1 pace-setters until after the team’s new wind tunnel is completed.

In brief

Norris not expecting title shot this year

Norris, whose four-year deal to drive for McLaren was confirmed yesterday, said it’s impossible to tell at this stage how competitive the team might be this season.

“We have no idea where it’s going to be against any other team,” he said. “There’s literally nothing that can tell us if we’re doing good, if we’re doing bad, apart from gossip and rumours that you might hear between teams or you might hear from interviews or whatever.

“I have strong faith in everyone in McLaren now that they’re working as hard as possible, they’re doing the best job they can to continue this kind of trend we’ve been on, the last few years. Whether that means we jump up a few positions, whether that means we maybe lose a couple of positions, that’s just the way it is. But that doesn’t mean I think anything less of the team or whatever, I’ll still have that faith and confidence.”

Norris believes the team will be better placed to take on the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull later in his new deal with them, after it has completed its wind tunnel upgrade.

“In year two, year three, year four, that’s the higher end and that’s where more opportunities for us as a team to achieve more will be coming.

“I have confidence in the team for this year. Whether or not we will be able to win races or the championship this year, I think, is a very far question, something we just have to wait and see.

“But we still know that without the wind tunnel, without a few things that we have just yet, to be able to beat teams like Mercedes and Red Bull who are performing at such a high level, it’s extremely difficult and almost impossible unless you’re so incredible in every other area that you’re just making up for not having a good enough wind tunnel. And I don’t think we’re at that point just quite yet.” to sponsor Miami Grand Prix for next nine years sponsored sprint qualifying rounds last year
Formula 1 has announced that the promoters of the Miami Grand Prix have committed to a nine-year sponsorship deal with cryptocurrency trading platform sponsored F1’s sprint qualifying during the 2021 season, including a prominently branded truck that acted in place of a podium for the top three finishers in sprint qualifying. Six sprint events were originally planned for 2022, but as recently reported F1 is likely to hold just three due to opposition from teams over costs.

The new Miami agreement will feature signage across the circuit and in multiple places around the event site ‘campus,’ including a hospitality terrace and fan zone in the Hard Rock Stadium.

Qualifying crucial in new Formula E format – Di Grassi

After Formula E debuted its new ‘duels’ qualifying format at the Diriyah Eprix, Venturi driver Lucas di Grassi says that it will be more important than ever, going into future rounds.

Formula E heads to Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez this Saturday for the third round of the 2022 season. Di Grassi, who won in Maxico in 2017 and 2019 said that since his move to Venturi “we have very strong momentum and in Diriyah, we showed what we are capable of as a team.

“Because the margins between teams are so fine, qualifying will be extremely important this season, and as we saw in the first two races, being consistently fast throughout this stage is crucial,” Di Grassi continued. “I think if we can progress to the duel stages again and reach the semi-finals at least, we should be in a good position to fight for another strong result.”

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Comment of the day

Biker56 raises a point regarding track preparations for F1’s new downforce generation methods. No race car is pleased to be met with a flying drain cover but could circuit features and furniture face changes due to ground effect?

With ground affect, and higher speeds, the pressure beneath the car will be lower.

Remembering the loose drain cover at Baku 2019 that destroyed GR’s Williams (and maybe 2020 Portugal), have the tracks done anything to prepare for this?

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Aqeel!

On this day in motorsport

  • 25 years ago today the Sauber C16 was launched. Johnny Herbert drove it throughout the 1997 season, taking a podium finish at the Hungarian Grand Prix, while Nicola Larini, Gianni Morbidelli and Norberto Fontana took turns as his team mates


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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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15 comments on “Beating Mercedes and Red Bull “almost impossible” for McLaren in 2022 – Norris”

  1. The COTD makes me think back to attending the Group C race at Montreal in 1990 where the powerful ground effect of those cars pulled a drain up & caused a massive accident which had a car upside down & on fire.

    1. Ln just made sure he is not going to have a championship winning car for the next 4 yrs.. he should have kept an eye out for LH seat..

    2. COTD is a very good point, cars and drains have a long history of coming together, but is it the suction that makes it happen? I know they’re welded down, do you just double weld them down? I’ve never welded anything in my life. And presumably after the race you have to ‘unweld’ them, if such a thing exists. Jenson in Monaco, Romain in Malaysia, Russell in Baku it happens more often than we perhaps realise because they didn’t end up in huge shunts. *though they might disagree.

      If the venturi is that powerful, presumably someone has thought about this and has some Pritt Stick handy.

      1. Yes, it is the sucking effect of the downforce generated @bernasaurus. And yes, it is that powerfull.

        As for the welding, first of all, it is important to use the right type of welding (gas, wire) for the draincovers. And then it is important to make sure the weld is done properly so that it really sticks/melts together with the draincovers and the ring holding them. I presume they might have to put more/longer welds around them (i presume they welded just in a few spots in say 5-10 cm welds at 3 points around it) to make sure they hold.

        To open them up after the race weekend, you have to cut the welds with an angle grinder (normally, you could use plasma to cut them out, but that would most likely mean replacing the whole draincover/frame it is in), so it makes sense to keep them as small as possible.

        1. Thanks @bascb (I didn’t know you knew so much about welding!). Looking at Russell’s and Buttons accidents; it’s Leclerc and Rosberg respectively passing over them moments before and sucking them up. Not that they’ve pulled them up into their own chassis. In the case of George Russell it’s a whole manhole cover going into the ‘splitter’ under the monocoque which can’t have been fun for his spine.

          Obviously F1 cars pass over these things all the time without incident, but looking at the underbody of the Group C cars, it’s incredible how those tiny tunnels can create such force. Not that I spend my afternoons trying to yank manhole covers off roads or push Group C cars into the ground. But even without relevancy, it’s undoubtedly heck of a power.

  2. Not a fan of the new Ferrari teamwear…

    Mclaren seems to be really playing down their prospects for this season. Either they’ve really screwed something up or they’re hiding something!

    1. Playing down? I had to re-read to see if I missed something. Seems to me to be as ‘straight down the middle’ as they could be. I guess that’s why there are the old sayings re: ‘glass half empty’ and ‘glass half full’ rather than just ‘half a glass’.

  3. McLaren doesn’t need to try to position itself as an underdog as they already are. So I would say they are sensibly not going to make promises they may not be able to keep. Going on the last three seasons and looking at the developments and rebuilding of the team.
    My thoughts are McLaren will be in a good place this year and capable of doing a little more than just nibble at the heels of Merc and Redbull.

  4. Neither do I. Ferrari is the only team I could realistically see (re)joining Merc & RBR on the top, or at least I have the highest hope on them based on gut feeling.

    But Crypto won’t be a title sponsor.

    Ferrari’s new clothing design isn’t bad, but admittedly I prefer full red shirts.
    Having quite a large grey portion seems unfitting.

    The Circuit de Catalunya paddock doesn’t seem hugely different.

    Mattiacci perhaps won’t be directly involved in the F1 operations.
    Still, I wonder which former F1 person will return next?

    COTD’s point is good. We’ll see whether & or how tracks react to ground effect return.

  5. F1 opened its doors to fans with the Netflix docudrama Drive to Survive.

    And closed them for the tests… which a lot of people try to attend because they can’t afford the ticket for a Grand Prix.

    “Reach more people, make it exclusive later”. Which was pretty much Bernie’s policy too.

  6. Serious question, did pay in hard cash or crypto currency? Surely payment in the former would be against their business model…

  7. I am sure McLaren and Lando can do it!

  8. … 2021, Mercedes engineers found a way of making their cars impervious, to DRS. Never in 2021 was a Mercedes passed under DRS –

  9. How does McLaren’s new wind tunnel work with the cost cap? Similarly, how is Lawrence Stroll able to pour so much money into Aston F1 team within the confines of the cost cap? It doesn’t make much sense to me, unless they have a massive under spend every year (which raises another question: if you under spend, can you roll it over into a new year?)

  10. Engineering remedy to stop race cars from sucking off drain covers is a very, very simple fix. I find it hard to believe they weld them down, all they need to do is drill holes in them. Then the car can suck the air from beneath the cover for a millisecond. If they use my remedy, I expect a few quid.

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