Norris: Extra porpoising could be ‘good thing’ for McLaren

Michelle Foster
Lando Norris driving the McLaren MCL36 in practice. France July 2022

Bouncing around the Paul Ricard circuit, Lando Norris says the return of porpoising may not be a bad thing for McLaren as it could mean they have unlocked extra downforce.

McLaren are one of the teams that have had minimal porpoising in the first half of this season.

However, it was notable the upgraded MCL36 was bouncing at the Paul Ricard circuit during Friday’s practice sessions.

McLaren had by far the most updates for their car, the team’s French Grand Prix package featuring revised sidepods, engine cover, floor, rear wing and rear brake ducts.

Norris was sixth fastest in FP2 while his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo also broke into the top 10, the Australian ninth fastest.

As such, Norris says maybe the porpoising is a good sign for McLaren.

“The last few races we’ve had quite a bit at times,” he said. “Silverstone we had a lot as well. Not a surprise, not a shock.

“I’m hoping…it’s kind of a good thing. If we can improve the car, sometimes that promotes porpoising.

“Apart from Red Bull, it seems like it’s something Ferrari and Mercedes have had a lot of and they are obviously a lot quicker than us.

“So maybe Red Bull nailed it with all of their stuff, but I think as we are trying to improve the car sometimes we expose this phenomenon and it’s maybe not a bad thing sometimes.

“Sometimes it means you are heading in the right direction so we are trying to understand it and hopefully we can find it’s a good thing, not a bad one.”

As for his thoughts on the updates, Norris says he still needs time to adapt as he only ran them in the second session, using the old package in opening practice.

“I wouldn’t say tricky,” he said. “It’s just this slight feeling you get behind the wheel. You are so sensitive to…you get so used to things.

“As soon as something feels just a little bit off, you have to figure out why that’s happening, what it’s doing, what the reasoning is for it and then how to overcome it and maximise it again.

“So it’s nothing like, say, good or bad. It’s just the limitation of the car is in different places through the corner and therefore you just have to adapt yourself to that.

“So I guess I’m playing a little bit of catch-up and just trying to understand all of that, comparing to Daniel, but at the same time it’s been good because we’ve been able to compare data easily because we chose that strategy of me not having it, him having it, and therefore we can look at the data tonight and extract more performance for tomorrow.”