McLaren Racing chief Zak Brown talks about the growth and maturity of Lando Norris, where the F1 team has encouraged him to find the limit, while he adds on Daniel Ricciardo finding it tough.
The McLaren F1 team has shown true power in the 2021 season, even competing with Mercedes in the most recent Austrian GP. Norris has continued to push the limits of the car, and his efforts shine through in terms of results – already better than 2020.
At only 21-years of age, Norris has already achieved 232 points in his career. There is raw talent playing in here, but there is also another factor at work. A factor described by McLaren CEO, Brown, when asked by FormulaRapida.net.
Handpicked by Brown, the American had nothing but praise for Norris, citing the young Brit’s maturity, eagerness, and drive for results. In fact, the McLaren chief revealed that the team pushed Norris to take that extra step this year, even if it results in few offs.
There has been times where Norris had some moments, but in the races, he has maintained his points scoring record. “Lando has matured really well, he came in as a rookie, and already drove really mature,” said Brown. “If you look at some of the other rookies that came in, they had a lot of accidents.
“While they showed speed, they got over the limit one too many times. Lando really hasn’t. He’s shown great pace and maturity from the word go. Then what we asked him to do last year and this year is to actually be a little bit more on the limit, to almost encourage, it’s OK if you go off every once in a while.
“And what we’ve seen is he’s sped up even more, gotten his elbows out, but he’s still keeping the car on the track, which is great. Now his mistakes are little track limits in Italy, when he was going to be P3. So he’s upped his aggressiveness, his starts, his first laps, but very much in controlled way.
“As you would expect in the first year, would sometimes take a little bit of time to learn the circuit, and the set-up, and would kind of follow Carlos. So we’re extremely happy with how Lando has performed, and we think he’s performing at a very high level,” summed up Brown, who suggests that the future for Norris looks bright certainly.
His teammate, Ricciardo, however, has been having a less than optimal time in the car. He has finished much lower than Norris in almost every session, and seems to be quite unhappy with these results, as he takes time to learn and adjust in the McLaren F1 car.
The Australian does have quite the reputation, boasting 10 years of a successful F1 career. He has accumulated an impressive 1199 points with seven wins. One might think then, that after his recent struggles with McLaren that he would be on the market again.
The reality is quite different, where McLaren has continued to back the Australian, with Brown supportive of Ricciardo as well, stating that the current results may be due the struggles in learning a new car with the lack of testing in COVID-19 times.
He reckons Norris has become a good benchmark, though, for Ricciardo to step up. “We mustn’t forget, he had half the testing that we had this year, and we were still trying to learn the power unit in testing,” said Brown. “So what we’re seeing out of Daniel is he’s getting quicker every weekend.
“His work ethic is great, his attitude is great, and he and the team are just working more closely together. So I’m extremely confident that he’ll get to his ultimate pace here shortly. I think adapting to a new car in a COVID era, where you have reduced testing, has certainly not made it easy on him. He’s got a teammate who I think is as fast as anyone on the grid. So he’s got a great bar to race against,” summed up Brown, who is happy where his two drivers stand, and looks forward to higher results in the future.
The article was written by Neeladri Nag
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