Lando Norris, McLaren, Bahrain International Circuit, 2023 pre-season test

McLaren’s pre-season a “huge amount better” than in 2022 – Norris

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In the round-up: Lando Norris says that McLaren’s pre-season testing programme has been a “huge amount” better than 2022 despite their relatively low mileage

In brief

McLaren’s pre-season a “huge amount better” than 2022 – Norris

McLaren covered the least distance of any team in the pre-season test in Bahrain last week, but Norris believes the team is in better shape than they were before the start of the 2022 season, when they suffered major brake problems.

“It’s a huge amount better than this time last year,” Norris said. “Of course a bit more focus on making sure we came here on top of everything, which I think we pretty much are. There’s been a couple of little setbacks here and there, but for the most part, the team has done a better job. We’re definitely in a better place.

“There’s still many things, to be honest, which we’ve been struggling with over the last few days. I guess we’ve been exploring – we’ve been trying a lot of different things with set ups. The car looks fairly similar, but still, there’s quite a few different things on the car. Fundamentally the car handles in a reasonably similar way to last year, which is I guess good in many ways, but also it still is evident where we have to focus on.”

Pirelli could mix compounds at Silverstone – Isola

Pirelli motorsport director Mario Isola says the F1 tyre supplier could switch up its tyre compounds for the British Grand Prix later this season.

Pirelli have six compounds available for the 2023 season and have traditionally selected three compounds that are consecutive in their range. However, Isola says Pirelli may opt to mix up their compounds at high speed circuits like Silverstone.

“The older C1 – that is now called the C0 – was working well in Silverstone, Zandvoort, but not [in Bahrain] and not in Barcelona, for example,” Isola explained. “So the target was to develop a new C1 with more grip.

“So we have now the flexibility of having six compounds homologated also to pick different compounds and jumping a level. Silverstone could be C0, C2, C3 instead of C1, C2 and C3.”

Preparing for second year “much smoother” than rookie season – Zhou

Alfa Romeo driver Zhou Guanyu says preparing for his second season in Formula 1 feels considerably different to approaching his rookie season last year.

Zhou was the only rookie on the grid in 2022, making his debut with Alfa Romeo in Bahrain, where he finished in the points. He says returning as an experienced driver feels very different.

“I felt a huge difference, because you really feel what experience in Formula 1 can give you,” Zhou said.

“Firstly, when you start to be back on the track, you don’t take much time to be getting to know the car, feeling the confidence to push over one lap. You can be straight on it. So that’s kind of a good thing, that you can step already a step further and then perform that.

“We have the same crew, same engineers that know your driving style and know your preference of the car set up, working with you already for one year. So everything seems to be much smoother and easier.”

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Comment of the day

The news that the Circuit de Catalunya will drop the unloved final chicane for this year’s Spanish Grand Prix prompted much jubilation – including from @fer-no65…

At bloody last. Taking away these two corners back in 2007 was arguably the worst decision ever since the modifications at Hockenheim. And it didn’t produce anything.

I went to the track last year to watch some GT cars doing practice runs and we sat looking at the stadium part of the track. That bit before the chicane was so awkward looking, it’s downhill so you’ve got to go slower than you think otherwise you understeer off, and then you switch back to the chicane. It’s such a slow and uninspiring bit of track, I’m so glad it’s finally gone!
Fer no.65

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Bastardo, Kevin, Lame2741, Shminder Chatha and Mitzi!

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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13 comments on “McLaren’s pre-season a “huge amount better” than in 2022 – Norris”

  1. “In four episodes no women are identified at all”

    Netflix isn’t the Human Resources Department of the F1 paddock. It’s not their job to put women in F1. All the women team principals are gone now and there’s no women drivers so what do people expect? Should we add some in with CGI to make the critics happy?

    1. I went to the hospital the other day and as a man I felt very unrepresented there.

    2. “Should we add some in with CGI to make the critics happy?”
      HEY! HEY! I think you may be onto something with that. Finally a way for everyone to curate their personal existence in accordance to their own specific brand of insanity. Just slap on some AR glasses, and before you know it, the correct amount of anime waifu representation is all around you.

      Unless it was Kalteborn or Williams, why would the viewers give a hoot about some reporter’s opinion, or name for that matter. Chandhok’s stint in F1 was so long ago, his opinion is barely relevant these days.

    3. If the worst thing about DTS is no women representation then I’m going to have to queue it up. They should have showed some of the grid girls.. oh wait a second.

    4. “In four episodes no women are identified at all”

      Bring back the grid girls !

    5. I’d be happy to drop Will Buxton

    6. I haven’t watched all of the current series, so maybe they do this, but I would be interested to hear more stories from other characters in F1. It’s always the drivers and team principles, but it would be great to see what a week is like in the life of a mechanic or even someone who’s just stuck back at the factory. How has their year been? What’s their experience of an F1 weekend? What’s their story? I know they’re still overwhelmingly male, but there would also be some female stories there.

  2. Seemingly, not much better, though.

    Like, most recently in last season’s Australian GP with C2-C3-C5.

    I’m surprised that some even care how much female representation occurs in DTS.

    The argument for hoping other series keep the dreadful chicane is somewhat weird.
    Additionally, my sentiment fully matches the COTD.

  3. I’ve given up on figuring out what Honda – Red Bull – and Red Bull Powertrains relationship is. I’m just going to get my biro out and write ‘it’s complicated’.

  4. Totally agree with the COTD about Barcelona. That chicane was always seen as a poor knee jerk idea clumsily implemented.

    But I’d like to fight the corner or the ‘new’ Hockenheim. I think the track there is great, it offers close racing, a nice stadium view and modern overtaking opportunities.

    It’s only real fault is that it’s not the old Hockenheim – but tbh I can’t see the old Hockenheim being on the calendar with its layout. Monza was always going to claim the ‘temple of speed” title and the racing towards the end of the old layout was getting predictable. If I think of surprises it’s really a man walking on track or Berger’s wins, but they were both from pole.

    The last 2 races there were all time greats. The start of Vettel’s final act in 2018 at home, the wonderful 2019 race with close punishing barriers but still a proper circuit.

    When the changes were first made there was a lot of negatively which was understandable but it’s grown into a gold standard circuit for me. I love the modern+history dynamic.

    It was a shame to lose the old Hockenheim but I’d rather have a modified one that none at all.

    1. Why not just go all the way and put a proper long banking corner there, or 2 smaller corners with even stronger banking, it would be quite something as a last sector.

      We already have Zandvoort, and Abu Dhabi’s new layout.

  5. Is he referring to the catering?

Comments are closed.