Norris still calling for ‘easier to drive’ McLaren

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Lando Norris is still urging McLaren to enhance the drivability of its MCL60 despite the remarkable progress enjoyed by team papaya across the 2023 season.

McLaren's journey in Formula 1 this year has been nothing short of astounding, with the Woking-based outfit transitioning over the summer from a second-tier mid-field contender to a top-three challenger.

As a result, and thanks to a pair of double podium finishes delivered by Norris and teammate Oscar Piastri in Japan and in Qatar, McLaren now stands just 11 points behind Aston Martin in the constructors' championship, with Ferrari holding a mere 79-point lead.

Nevertheless, despite substantial speed improvements, Norris emphasized that the MCL60 remains a challenging car to drive – or on a “knife’s edge” as the Briton says, due to the car’s fundamental handling characteristics remaining largely unaltered.

“I think at the minute, that’s our next target with our development is still to make it a bit quicker, but also just to make the car a bit easier to drive in different conditions because both Oscar and my comments are still, like, you have to drive a car like this, it’s on a knife edge,” Norris explained.

“If you’re not pushing to 100% you’re just slow. So I feel like we’re doing a good job finding that level, but it’s just very difficult as soon as conditions change to do this.

“We either go one way off this knife and then we’re just struggling a bit more. Finding that consistency is our next target and I think that all kind of ties together.”

Norris admitted that moving McLaren’s car away from its “knife edge” characteristics is an undertaking that would inevitably impact its performance.

“For where we are, for what I feel like we still want to achieve, for what we have done in the season, before we really focus on the smaller details, even for what we have a lot of it is small details that make this big difference, smaller details in terms of making the driver a bit happier rather than just making the car quick," he added.

“But like I said the other day, I’d rather have a quick car and a tricky one to drive than vice versa: a slow car to drive and a nice car to drive.


“But I think this want of making the car a bit more drivable, a bit more rounded, I think that’s almost the hardest task to achieve because it is so difficult to do this without compromise.

“It’s such a difficult thing to have the front end strong here, but then not to be too strong that you struggle on the exit because then the rear needs to be better.”

“And, you know, it’s more like a juggling act rather than just adding things everywhere. And the juggling act is the one that’s very difficult to achieve but, it’s tough.”

Striking the optimal balance between drivability and performance is the team’s current holy grail, but Norris has never been more confident in McLaren’s ability to reach its quest.

“Do I have confidence in it? I would say yes, I would say I have more confidence than ever,” he added. “That the team can look into these things that we want as drivers and actually start to chip away.

“Over the past few years, I would say, I haven’t had that confidence because we’ve had it for the last four or five years.

“Now, I would say I’ve got the confidence that we can make those next steps in making a quick car, but also making a car which then starts to suit me or us as drivers a little bit more.”

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