McLaren’s Lando Norris believes the team helped their own cause in 2019 by not “overhyping” their season before it began.
The story of McLaren had been one of steady decline in the turbo-hybrid era, that was until 2019 when the Woking outfit turned their fortunes around, securing P4 in the Constructors’ Championship and scoring their first podium since 2014 in Brazil.
Norris graduated from the McLaren Academy for 2019 as he partnered Carlos Sainz in an all-new driver line-up, while Andreas Seidl joined as team principal.
And along with the positivity this also brought a fresh perspective at McLaren, that being to stop hyping up their chances for the next season, something which Norris feels they benefited from.
“I think one of the biggest things that changed is just having a fresh start,” Norris is quoted by Crash.net.
“Two new drivers, new people within the team, new management with Andreas [Seidl] coming in.
“There were a lot of changes in the team which kind of refreshed everything but also at the same time because the last few years had been so bad – coming into this year for a good reason – we didn’t overhype things as much as previous years.
“Always coming to Abu Dhabi, everyone was so excited about how McLaren was going to do the following year because as a team we said too many things that were making people overly confident. We didn’t do that, which was a good thing.
“People worked hard over the winter and with that we then started testing and we weren’t super happy with how testing went but then as the races went on then the environment and everything started coming together more and more.
“I think there’s been a lot of key things but two new drivers, new management and new people looking after everyone, I think just putting it all together has made it all more enjoyable for the drivers and the team.”
But while Norris says the team are happy with their work in 2019, he made it clear that there is a lot of work to do before McLaren could threaten Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull.
“I think it speaks from itself where we were last year, where we ended up in the Constructors’ and where we were on average in qualifying and the races,” he said.
“The contrast to this year has been pretty huge, so I think that says enough. There’s been a lot of very good things but there’s still a lot of things which have not been so good and things we need to improve on.
“I think we can be happy but there’s still a long way to go to be able to race with Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes. We can be happy but not overly happy and get ahead of ourselves ahead of next year.”