Lando Norris was left to lament a woeful performance by McLaren at the Miami Grand Prix, the driver saying “maybe the AlphaTauris were the only other slow car”.
Neither Norris nor Oscar Piastri made it out of Q1 on Saturday, the team-mates a second down on pace-setter Max Verstappen in qualifying, and it didn’t get any better in the grand prix.
Norris suffered early damage to his floor when his MCL60 was given a whack by Nyck de Vries on the opening lap that reportedly costing him 0.2s per lap. As for his team-mate, a brake-by-wire issue hampered Piastri’s pace.
The Briton, though, says it was more than just those issues that hurt McLaren on Sunday. It boiled down to a fundamental problem with a car that doesn’t like long corners and high temperatures.
“The track doesn’t suit us, longer corners don’t suit us, the temperature doesn’t suit us, track surface doesn’t suit us,” he explained. “There are many different aspects of it all.”
That three of their biggest rivals, Alpine, Haas and Alfa Romeo, found pace around the Miami International Autodrome also didn’t help McLaren.
“No one was slow either this weekend,” Norris added. “Maybe the AlphaTauris were the only other slow car. Everyone else was pretty quick.
“The Alfa Romeos were mega fast, Haas were mega fast. The Alpines were way quicker.
“I wouldn’t say we were that much different to where we have been, it’s just everything else was a big step forward and a lot of this is just down to car characteristic, in my opinion.”
Asked whether McLaren’s upgrade package introduce in Baku had made any difference to the car, the 23-year-old replied: “It’s optimised and everything works as it should. But all the other problems we have on days like today only make the difficulties even greater.”
He added: “It helps with a few tenths here and there, but it won’t change the car.”
McLaren team boss Andrea Stella called the team’s Miami pace a “reality check” but says it’s part of the learning experience.
He said as per Autosport: “The main takeaway is that after a decent weekend in Baku from a performance point of view, we had a reality check.
“The information we gained here helps us understand that some development directions still need to be pursued, like improving the car in off-brakes, off-throttle.
“At the moment, the car just doesn’t work in this condition. At tracks like this, this becomes too much of a limitation.”
He added: “We would have needed today some events in the race, a safety car or so, but nothing happened.
“So, the limitations for a performance point of view could not be overcome thanks to some situational elements. We go away with no points.”
Although McLaren held onto fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship, Alpine’s double points-haul means the latter is now equal on 14 points.