Lando Norris reveals five-year McLaren weakness yet to be addressed

Jamie Woodhouse
Oscar Piastri leads Lando Norris. Hungary July 2023

Oscar Piastri leads his McLaren team-mate Lando Norris. Hungary July 2023

Lando Norris claims McLaren’s struggles through the slow-speed corners have persisted through the past five years and have not yet been properly addressed.

McLaren have certainly been doing something right though with their recent work on the MCL60, with the upgrade flow which started back at the Austrian GP for their challenger having surged the team up the order.

Rather than battling to pick up the scraps of the points-paying positions, Norris would score back-to-back P2 finishes at the British and Hungarian GPs, while team-mate Oscar Piastri finished the Spa sprint race in P2 having narrowly missed out on beating Red Bull’s runaway Championship leader Max Verstappen to pole.

Lando Norris highlights McLaren slow-corner weakness

Despite these highly impressive gains though, Norris feels McLaren still have work to do to change the fact that “we’re one of the slowest cars in the slow-speed corners”,  something which he feels has held McLaren back since he debuted with the team in 2019.

“It’s just an area that’s been bad for us over the last five years that we’ve not really tackled that well,” he continued, as per Motorsport.com.

“And at no point have we gone, ‘wow, the slow-speed’s strong, now let’s work on the high-speed.’

“It’s always been good in high-speed, poor in slow-speed. But as a general point with these tyres, just how you have to drive them, it’s very difficult to combine. They only like to go almost in a straight line at any point, they don’t like to corner.

“So you kind of have to make the car a little bit around this, but the better you make the car, the less stress you can put on the tyres and things like that.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

F1 points all-time rankings: Where do Hamilton, Verstappen and Alonso feature?

F1 Driver of the Day: Who has won the award in F1 2023?

As for how McLaren could go about solving this issue, Norris says pointing to an aerodynamic weakness would be the obvious approach, though he feels his team need to look deeper than that.

To support his point, even if the MCL60 had equal load to the dominant Red Bull RB19 through slow-speed corners, he doubts the MCL60 has the right characteristics to take full advantage of it.

“I guess it’s aerodynamics, we still have a focus of it,” said Norris when pressed on potential fixes.

“But at the same time it’s a handling characteristic, which I would say is not all to do with aerodynamics. Even though aerodynamics is the easiest to just add load to, and it’s an easy way of just bringing absolute performance.

“I think even if we say we had the same load as a Red Bull in slow-speed, I don’t think we have the right balance of car in slow-speed, which I think is also a limitation for us.

“I don’t think it’s just about looking at aerodynamically how we perform, but also mechanically and tying everything together and coming up with little tricks and things that some other teams have, to accelerate low-speed performance.”

McLaren find themselves P5 in the Constructors’ standings ahead of the second-half of F1 2023, 88 points behind Ferrari a place up the road.

Read next: McLaren defend sponsor amidst calls for livery ban