Lando Norris, McLaren, Baku City Circuit, 2023

Baku upgrade means McLaren have ‘car we should have started the year with’ – Norris

2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Lando Norris says McLaren’s 2023 car is now “what we should have started the year with” after the team brought an upgrade package for the MCL60 to this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

McLaren endured a difficult start to the season again this year, languishing in the bottom half of the field in Bahrain and failing to score points in Saudi Arabia after both Norris and his team mate Oscar Piastri incurred damage early on.

However the pair finished in the top 10 at the last round in Australia, scoring a combined 12 points to move McLaren into fifth place in the constructors’ championship.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Norris said he believes McLaren have now reached the level of performance that they should have begun the 2023 season with.

“I don’t want to get ahead of myself,” Norris said. “I think Australia was definitely a better weekend for us. Things definitely went our way a little bit more.

“I think we were unlucky, which made things look worse than they were in the first two races. We do have the upgrade – I think that was made clear and obvious very early on in the season. But what we have now, it’s what we should have started the year with.”

Norris said McLaren now have more potential to build on the performance of their car for the season ahead having addressed the issues that had cost them relative to their midfield rivals in the opening rounds of the year.

“A lot of other teams also have upgrades, so our job is to try and bring slightly bigger things and try to play a little bit of catch-up,” Norris explained.

“I think what we have this weekend is just the baseline we should have started the year with and it’s about understanding what we have now. It’s a better baseline, it’s more room for opportunities and more room for improvements with what we have.

“So it’s going to make us take a small step forward, but to all the people who also bring upgrades, it’s going to be smaller. I’m excited, the team did a very good job to bring these things through and to get them ready, but it’s about maximising what we have now.”

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2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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2 comments on “Baku upgrade means McLaren have ‘car we should have started the year with’ – Norris”

  1. McLaren jumping all the to 5th via two modest positions at Australia show how much harder a fourth team (AM) joining the points shoe in group has made it for the rest of the field to score points. It’s going to be epicly close among WCC positions 7-10 (Alpine and McLaren should easily pull away into the top six.

  2. Kinda strange statement from Norris. He’s starting to show that he’s prepared to throw the team under the bus now whereas he’s previously been sweetness and light.
    Mclaren seems to be in a real mess, not unlike Williams ca couple of years ago.

    To say they should have started with a much better car and that they now have it, suggests that their development and manufacturing is way behind where it should be.

    Are their budgetary issues there or just plain incompetence?

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