Heading into his second season with McLaren, Lando Norris feels he has gained more “respect” from his colleagues.
Norris enjoyed a fantastic rookie season in Formula 1, scoring 49 points as he helped McLaren to P4 in the Constructors’ Championship, their best finish since 2012.
At 20 years of age, Norris remains the youngest driver on the grid, but he feels that he has more respect now within the team after a year on the job.
Speaking to Autosport, Norris agreed with the suggestion that he feels more comfortable as a figurehead within the team now, but it wasn’t what he does best.
“I guess a little bit, but I’m still much better at driving than anything else,” he said.
“But at the same time, just because I’ve done it for a year, people gain a bit of respect and therefore listen to you at the same time a bit more.
“I mean, I didn’t know if I’m classed as a veteran, but I feel more confident within myself and I think at the same time just because you’re in year two, and with McLaren as well, then you are kind of seen as a bit more of a professional in some ways, not someone who was just there for one year, and you gain a bit of respect.
“People listen and then you do become in a way that bit more of a spokesperson where people rely on you, they listen to you and they take actions from things you say.
“So yeah, I think it’s a cool thing.
“At the same time, say you’re leading the car developments and you’re leading the engineers and aerodynamicists and if they want to develop the car in a certain way, and you know your actions and things you say have consequences – not consequences – but they lead to things going better and or maybe worse, basically.
“So, I do need to be a bit more precise with the things I say and not just be kind of a rookie and always saying, ‘yes’ and agreeing with everyone.”
The Briton says that he is more “confident” heading into his second season, and that it has been easier to set clearer goals.
Norris said he felt “in a much better place coming into my year two, with knowing things I needed to work on.”
“And that just allowed me to have a better strategy, a better focus on pre-season testing, knowing those areas that I needed to work on,” he added.
“And that made it much easier in terms of setting our goals, what things we wanted to achieve, and so on.
“That just allowed me to feel more confident with what I was doing with what the team was doing.
“And mentally, it just put me in a better place for pre-season testing and going into Australia [for the original 2020 season opener].
“So I just need to make sure that I continue that, and then I continue that once we start racing again.”