Norris: 2022 cars feel ‘more sluggish’

Michelle Foster
Lando Norris testing with McLaren. Barcelona February 2022

McLaren driver Lando Norris from behind putting in the laps in the MCL36. Barcelona February 2022

Lando Norris says driving the new 2022 cars feels like putting in a lap during qualifying on “race fuel”.

After a brief shakedown the week prior, Norris’ 2022 preparations kicked up a gear on Wednesday as Formula 1’s group shakedown got underway at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Unlike other teams, McLaren opted not to split the driving duties with Norris behind the wheel of the MCL36 for the entire day.

He covered 103 laps, and set the fastest time with a 1:19.568 on the C4 Pirelli tyres.

But the opening test of the pre-season is by no means about who can set the fastest lap time, although there’s no harm in doing so, it is about reliability and giving the drivers the track time to adjust to the all-new cars.

This season the cars are heavier than last year, up from 752kg to 795kg, and Norris says that has made for a “more sluggish” drive.

“The weight makes a massive difference for just the driving, how the car reacts,” Norris said.

“It’s a lot heavier than it was last season. So it just feels a bit slower, a bit more sluggish.

“It’s like running with the race fuel of last season before almost a qualifying lap in a way. You do feel it in like the braking and certain areas. The performance is not quite the same.

“But it shouldn’t be too long (to adjust) and I think by the end of the day, you’re a little bit more used to it and it feels almost normal again.”

As for his pace-setting time, the McLaren driver downplayed that as he says being fastest out on the blocks only sets up expectations.

“I didn’t want to be P1, if anything I’d rather be last,” he said. “Because now the expectations are so high, and everyone thinks we’re incredible.

“I think we just had a slightly different run plan to the other people. We’ll see in the next few days, people will probably go much quicker than what I did.

“I’m happy, the car was running, we did over 100 laps in the end. I can be happy enough.


“But today is obviously not about the lap time. I don’t care if I’m first or last – I think if anything it’s worse if you’re in first because now everyone thinks we’re amazingly fast, which I don’t really reckon we are.”


PlanetF1 Verdict


Norris feels 2022 cars are ‘more sluggish’

Lando Norris believes that the 2022 cars feel sluggish compared to the 2021 cars.