F1 News, Reports and Race Results

'Really happy' Norris says McLaren moving in right direction

It was a big thumbs up from Lando Norris at the end of the first day of pre-season testing at Bahrain, which saw him finish as the second-fastest driver behind overall pace setter Max Verstappen.

Norris even briefly moved to the top of the timesheets after lunch, deposing the dominant Red Bull from the top spot, but ended the day 1.140s behind the reigning world champion after completing 73 laps.

"I’m really happy to be back behind the wheel," Norris said after the chequered flag brought the session to a finish."Our first test with the new car felt very enjoyable.

"It was reliable on track, so all in all it was a positive day," he commented. " We worked through a number of items during the session, as expected in testing, sticking to the plan and executing it well.

"There are still two long days of testing ahead of us and still a lot to improve and set up, but it’s all moving in the right direction. I am looking forward to driving again tomorrow and continuing to put the MCL38 through its paces.”

His team mate Oscar Piastri had been in the car for the morning session. The cooler conditions meant that he ended up being bumped down to ninth by the later runners, 2.314s behind Verstappen's top time.

"First day of testing done for me and it all went relatively smoothly," the Australian reported. "It was a pretty solid day, and it was nice to be back on track in representative conditions.

“The car felt reasonable and I would say there are some differences from last year which are moving in the right direction. It’s been a decent start to testing.

"We’ll see what we can work through over the remainder of the test and aim to get a good understanding of the car by the end of it," he added. "I look forward to getting back in the car for day two tomorrow.”

McLaren's new Head of testing Jose Manuel López was in charge of the squad in Bahrain this week, and confirmed that he was satisfied by what the team had accomplished on its first full day back on track in 2024.

“It’s been a good first day of testing for us," he reported. "We completed a lot of mileage with 130 laps on the board. Both Lando and Oscar completed their programmes.

"We started the day running some aero rakes and learning about the aerodynamic performance of the MCL38. A lot of set-up work was done in the morning with Oscar, and then in the afternoon with Lando we focused on longer runs.

"The car ran reliably on track all day, and we completed all of our planned running. We’ve collected a lot of information which we will look through this evening, in preparation for the next two days of testing.

"We’re all looking forward to getting back on track tomorrow," he added.

Testing resumes at 8am GMT with four hours of morning testing, and then a further four hours taking it into dusk and night timer running under the floodlights at Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir.

The first Grand Prix of the season will take place at the same venue next weekend.

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Andrew Lewin

Andrew first became a fan of Formula 1 during the time when Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill were stepping into the limelight after the era of Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell and Aryton Senna. He's been addicted ever since, and has been writing about the sport now for nearly a quarter of a century for a number of online news sites. He's also written professionally about GP2 (now Formula 2), GP3, IndyCar, World Rally Championship, MotoGP and NASCAR. In his other professional life, Andrew is a freelance writer, social media consultant, web developer/programmer, and digital specialist in the fields of accessibility, usability, IA, online communities and public sector procurement. He worked for many years in magazine production at Bauer Media, and for over a decade he was part of the digital media team at the UK government's communications department. Born and raised in Essex, Andrew currently lives and works in south-west London.

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