The team has taken a significant leap forward with its car by introducing the initial portion of its highly anticipated upgrade package at the Austrian GP. As a result of these enhancements, Norris has achieved a second-place finish in both the British and Hungarian GPs.
Norris maintains that his personal driving style still does not align with the way the car needs to be operated, and he believes the same is true for his teammate Oscar Piastri.
Norris explained that both he and Oscar share similar opinions, which is why they both have similar comments about the car. He mentioned that this has been the case not only this year but also in the previous year when Daniel Ricciardo was driving. They consistently provided comparable feedback on a daily and weekly basis.
Describing it is challenging. It requires driving in a specific manner, which I find undesirable and do not prefer.
I am not fond of the current way I have to operate the car. It seems to be completely opposite to my strengths.
“I desire to maintain a minimal velocity while navigating a corner. Currently, the one thing I am incapable of accomplishing is successfully maneuvering a corner. It is now imperative for me to navigate the corner with utmost caution, despite my lack of enthusiasm for such actions. Frankly, I do not particularly enjoy it.”
Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60
Photo by: Erik Junius
Norris emphasized that the car’s braking ability is a notable strength, building upon the existing package.
“Essentially, the car has a preference for moving in a linear path,” he stated. “Moreover, it doesn’t even achieve high speeds when moving straight ahead!”
“We excel at braking, especially in straight lines, which is why we were exceptionally fast in wet conditions on certain occasions. I wouldn’t claim that we are consistently fast in the rain, but rather when braking plays a crucial role, such as in Monaco. This helps us generate heat in the tires and boosts our confidence.”
“We have speed in straight lines, but we lack agility in wet conditions around corners. Therefore, there are specific factors that enable us to maintain competitiveness.”
“I am simply seeking the flexibility to explore various approaches and adapt to different circumstances. Whether it be adjusting to shifting winds, changing conditions, varying fuel amounts, or tire wear, we are consistently confined to driving in a single manner.”
“I am currently not fond of the approach, but I have had to adjust to it. As a driver, I still have much room for further adaptation, as it is quite different from the type of car I aspire to drive.”
Norris observed that the car does not excel in slow-speed corners, but he also recognized that other teams face similar challenges.
“He said he believes it is not specifically about us, as many comments from others share similar sentiments,” he expressed.
“We are not very fast in the slow speed corners compared to other cars, and these reasons are also why we struggle in this area. It has been a weakness for us for the past five years, and we have not been able to address it effectively. We have never reached a point where we excel in slow speeds and then focus on improving our performance in high speeds.”
The performance of these tires has consistently been impressive at high speeds, but lacking at lower speeds. However, when it comes to driving style, it is quite challenging to find a balance. These tires prefer to travel in a straight line rather than taking corners.
“You must somewhat adapt the car to this concept, but the more you enhance the car, the less strain you will exert on the tires and similar components.”
Lando Norris, McLaren, in Parc Ferme after the Sprint
Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images
When questioned about how to tackle the problem, he responded: “I believe it involves aerodynamics, as we continue to prioritize it. However, it also relates to the handling of the vehicle, which I would argue is not solely dependent on aerodynamics. While adding load to aerodynamics is the simplest way to enhance overall performance.”
“I believe that even if we were to have the same load as a Red Bull at a lower speed, our car lacks the appropriate balance for slow speeds, which I consider to be a constraint for us.”
“I believe it’s not only about analyzing our aerodynamic performance, but also considering the mechanical aspects and finding innovative techniques and strategies used by other teams to enhance our low-speed capabilities.”