Lando Norris, McLaren, Bahrain International Circuit, 2024 pre-season test

McLaren starting season with “much better car” than recent years – Norris

Formula 1

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Lando Norris is confident that McLaren will start the new Formula 1 season in much stronger shape than they have in recent years.

McLaren endured difficult pre-season tests in 2022 and 2023. They haven’t scored a point in the opening race for the last two years.

However, after covering 1,775km over the three-day test in Bahrain this week – more than the team achieved in each of the previous two years – Norris says he is feeling “a lot better” about their situation leading up to the new season.

“I think the issues we’ve had over the last few years were just lack of preparation and knowledge of certain things,” Norris said. “This year I think we’ve been definitely a lot more prepared in every area, so I’m very happy about that.”

Although the team did encounter problems during last week’s test, Norris is not as concerned by those setbacks.

“The team have done an excellent job to get everything ready and not have any faults like that. Various other things have happened – I mean, it’s good that they’ve happened now and we can prepare for them a bit more for the future. But not through a lack of preparation or knowledge. Just some little things here and there. So it’s unfortunate, but I think the whole outlook from the team is in a much, much better position.”

Norris says McLaren will head into the new season “on the right foot”, which is something he believes the team have not done for “the last three or four years”.

“We’ve come in a bit more attacking with various things rather than ‘not sure if this is going to be ready,” he said. “We don’t think we’ve maximised this area or that area – I think we’ve come in with much more knowledge and expertise and just a much better car to start a season off with.

McLaren’s strong rate of development last was envied by many of their rivals. Having failed to score a point in the first two races they ended the year with nine podium finishes and fourth place in the constructors’ championship.

Norris hopes that a stronger start to the season this year leads to more success this season.

“I’m excited and have been since the very beginning of at least starting the year in a good position and then seeing how we can transform things, because I think we obviously did a very good job of that last year,” he said.

“The team have done a good job. I’m very happy with what they’ve done and plenty more things to come.”

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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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3 comments on “McLaren starting season with “much better car” than recent years – Norris”

  1. Good, show us what you can do with it. And I hope you keep a solid level of development going during the season from a good start.

  2. Yep, I agree. McLaren looked faster than previous pre-seasons…

    …but I’m not sure that’s fast enough. Piastri’s race sim was pretty similar to Albon’s on same tyres and track status. I think Red Bull, Ferrari and probably Mercedes are ahead of them. Low points for the start of the season is an improvement, but that’s not what they want nor what they should be scoring. And reliability issues may be a distraction.

    Besides that, am I the only one that can’t see why everybody thinks VCARB are fighting for top-of-the-midfield team? Race sims were poor, in qualy runs Zhou was better…

  3. Well that was not really difficult looking at 2022 and 2023 disasters.

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