McLaren’s Lando Norris says he’s hopeful his team have been able to create a car that fits better with his driving style, as well as being quicker.
Norris is entering his fifth season with the Woking-based squad, having become one of the stars of Formula 1 since entering the sport with McLaren in 2019.
Consistently ranking as one of the ‘best-of-the-rest’ right behind the drivers from the leading top three teams Mercedes, Red Bull, and Ferrari, Norris brought home seventh place in the Drivers’ Championship last season.
Even more impressively, Norris scored more than three times as many points as teammate Daniel Ricciardo – the struggling Australian being bought out of his contract and ousted for 2023 after a second consecutive year of toil.
While Norris has been one of F1’s most consistently impressive performers, the British driver has always been open about the fact that he isn’t quite at ease with the unique driving demands of McLaren’s cars – perhaps a not insignificant factor in Ricciardo’s struggles.
The 23-year-old has clearly been able to cope quite well with the unusual handling traits of the McLarens but has opened up on how he’s hopeful Woking have been able to come up with a more malleable machine for their 2023 MCL60.
Lando Norris pushed engineers to evolve unique traits of McLaren’s F1 car
The car, named in honour of Bruce McLaren setting up his eponymous team 60 years ago in 1963, was revealed to the world last week, with Norris looking ahead to 2023 as he spoke to the world’s media afterward.
“It’s something which I worked on a lot last season, personally, from pushing my side to the team,” Norris told the press, including PlanetF1.com, when asked about whether he believes the MCL60 may suit his driving style more.
“Every driver wants a car that is just quick. I think that’s always been the goal the last few years but personally, as a driver, I spent a bit more time to try and go through things with all the engineers to give them the understanding of maybe a little bit more of what we struggle with in terms of a balance and how the car acts through the corners.
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“Maybe some traits which we’ve not been able to necessarily change too much or adapt or improve over the last few years. So I think, this year, [there] has been a bit more of a push on that on not just letting the guys come up with a… try and do the best with making a quick car, but also one, which is, hopefully, a little bit more to my liking.
“Even though I’ve been with McLaren for the last four years, or three years for the last season (sic), it’s not like the cars were made for me in any way more than it was for Daniel. And the same for the first few years. So maybe, maybe, this year’s car is one which can suit me more. But when I say suit me, it’s also just to make the car quicker in general, it’s not just a suit me personally as a driving style – it’s something that both Daniel and myself complained of a huge amount – the similar traits.
“Hopefully, this year, we can take a step forward with that. It will help us go quicker as a car and as a team. And, through the season, we can progress it even more.”
Lando Norris feeling increased responsibility at McLaren
Despite being just 23 years old, Norris’ position entering his fifth season at McLaren makes him the seasoned and experienced veteran of the driver line-up as Oscar Piastri enters his rookie season.
As the more senior driver, Norris admitted he is feeling a change of dynamic as he enters this season.
“I think I just have more responsibility this season from within the team,” he explained.
“I think I already did have a big portion of that last year, being the guy who was staying within the team. A guy you could figure out and understand last year’s car slightly better, and therefore try and use that for this year. That’s something that I can do, and none of the other drivers, or Oscar cannot.
“So I have the responsibility of bringing my knowledge and experience from Formula 1 into these years coming up, and that’s something that Oscar will slowly get up to speed with, or quickly get up to speed with. So yeah, more responsibility.
“I don’t think there’s anything more than that or much different wording that needs to be used. I think it’s just more responsibility within the team and lead that part of it, and continue doing the job that I did otherwise last year.”