Norris explains current McLaren struggle

Lando Norris feels he is not driving for McLaren at the moment to the level he knows he is capable of

Lando Norris feels a combination of factors is at the heart of his struggle with McLaren at present

Lando Norris feels there are a combination of factors at the heart of his struggle with McLaren this season.

The campaign was always going to be a tough one for the team after CEO Zak Brown revealed prior to pre-season testing that it had failed to hit its development targets.

Despite a concerted effort being made to swiftly install upgrades that should be seen on the car in the coming races, McLaren still opted to implement a major overhaul of the technical department, resulting in James Key’s departure as technical director.

For now, the MCL60 is proving a handful for Norris, who has scored just eight points from the opening three races, with those all coming from the recent chaotic Australian Grand Prix where he managed to stay out of trouble.

Asked of Norris whether the car was inherently difficult to drive, or whether he was overdriving in a bid to find performance, he replied: “A combination. It’s tough, especially when you’re kind of close-ish.

“I don’t want to settle for a P13 or a P12 [in qualifying], so it’s just a little bit of overdriving potentially.

“I would say I’m not quite finding the rhythm that I want and the knowledge of every corner of where the limit exactly is.

“So I wouldn’t say I’m probably driving at the level I feel like I should or hold myself to.

“But it is a mixture of it being a tricky car to drive, one that is easy to go over the limit on anyway.

“And then when you combine those two, a tricky car with trying to overpush and overdrive that little bit too much, then I make the mistakes as I have.”

McLaren lacking downforce, too much drag

Norris’ problems are perfectly understandable for team principal Andrea Stella, and were anticipated before the season began.

With the first of the upgrades due to be on the car for the next race in Azerbaijan next weekend, Stella said: “In terms of understanding the car, the picture is very clear.

“And the picture is actually consistent with what we kind of expected right from the start – we knew that we didn’t have enough downforce on the car, and we knew there’s more drag than ideal.

“This has manifested itself in terms of lap time in the first three races, and in Melbourne, if anything, I would say the car was trickier to drive and more difficult to put clean laps together.

“That’s why you heard from Oscar [Piastri] and Lando saying they left some time here and there, but that’s ultimately not their responsibility.

“They pushed the car but the car was tricky, especially in braking, so we definitely have quite a lot of work to do, but this is in line with what we knew already.”

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