McLaren improvement was ’80-20′ track related

Michelle Foster
Lando Norris leads Daniel Ricciardo. Australia April 2022

McLaren driver Lando Norris leads his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo. Australia April 2022

Lando Norris believes McLaren’s performance gains in Melbourne were largely track-dependent, putting it down to an “80-20” split against car improvements.

McLaren secured their best result of this season at Daniel Ricciardo’s home race, the Australian Grand Prix, with Norris fifth and Ricciardo less than half a second behind in sixth place.

It was the team’s first double points haul of the campaign and followed Norris’ P7 at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

It elevated McLaren to fourth in the Constructors’ Championship with 24 points, the Woking team sitting two ahead of Alpine.

But while McLaren have been striving hard to improve their MCL36, Norris reckons their back-to-back points-scoring finishes are more track-related than performance gains.

“There’s a split,” he told The Race. “There are some things we have done well. And we still managed to extract naturally a bit more performance out of the car by understanding a few more things, and going a little bit more in a different direction with the set-up.

“But at the same time, I think the majority of it is just the track.

“We’ve not brought anything that’s changed much. And it’s not like we can do that much more with the set-up to actually just make it suddenly go a lot quicker.

“It’s more 70-30 or 80-20 in terms of 80% is just track and 20% is hard work.”

It is a sentiment echoed by team boss Andreas Seidl.

The German, though, says there are three factors involved – the track, the car and that McLaren started the 2022 championship off the pace after brake cooling issues blighted their pre-season.

“There are three main reasons why we have been a bit more competitive compared to Jeddah, for example,” he said.

“For sure it’s the track layout, which suits our car more with the current package we have, this more fluid track route.

“Then, I think in terms of performance, we brought some small upgrades that worked. And every little bit helps.

“But then also, we shouldn’t forget we started the season really on the back foot, missing out on a lot of laps in the Bahrain test.


“We had to learn still a lot about this new car during the first two race weekends. And I think having a chance to apply these learnings, that’s where performance is also coming from.

“If you put that all together, I think that made us a bit more competitive here, which is great and simply a reward or boost for the team to keep going and keep working hard to bring more performance to the track.”