Norris not yet certain MCL36 will suit his style

Jon Wilde
The McLaren MCL36 from above.

A view of the McLaren MCL36 from above. February 2022.

Lando Norris hopes “everything’s groovy” with his adaptation to the MCL36 – but cannot yet be certain it will suit his driving style.

The Briton, who has just signed a contract extension with McLaren through to 2025, says it would be “wonderful” if this is the car that propels him to his first F1 win.

But because the MCL36, launched on Friday, is an all-new challenger designed for the much-changed 2022 regulations, there are no guarantees it will fit Norris’ style like a glove.

He has a close reminder of how a McLaren is not easy to learn for every driver as his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo endured that experience after joining the Woking squad last season.

Asked if the new car will suit his style, Norris told reporters: “That’s a question I don’t know [the answer to] just yet. We obviously have some ideas from the simulator and so on, but till we actually get on the track and see what it’s like and so on, that’s a question that has to be answered.

“I kind of hope it suits my driving style and everything’s groovy, but there definitely will be things no matter what that I must adapt to and change to and I think that will be the case with everyone.

“But of course, there are opportunities for me to continue last year’s progress and I’ll try and make that next step.”

Lando Norris poses in the new McLaren race suit. February 2022.
Lando Norris looks at the camera while wearing the 2022 McLaren race suit ahead of the MCL36 launch. February 2022.

The progress to which he referred meant four podium finishes, including his highest ever placing of second to surprise winner Ricciardo in Italy, a highly consistent first half of the season and a maiden pole position at the Russian Grand Prix – which he may have gone on to win but for being caught out strategically by a late rain shower.

The obvious next step? It has to be a victory.

“I would love to win. It’s an aim, a target for some point. If that’s this year, wonderful. If not, I’ll just hope it’s the next year,” said the 22-year-old.

“You just need to wait and see what opportunities we have this year. I would love to get it out of the way and know what that feeling is like to win a race. Hopefully it’s not too far away.”

 

Norris also feels the new regulations will offer a “big opportunity” for drivers to shine if they can adjust to the changes positively.

“As a driver, personally, there will be a big opportunity and to come out of the blocks strongly will always be a good thing, especially when, or if, you have to change your driving style and so on,” he added.

“Potentially, you could probably make a bigger difference than in previous years, if you understand how to drive the car and so on, rather than just the car being the opportunity for us to make the most of it.”

 

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