Lando Norris talks about the downforce issues that McLaren are facing along with the team’s morale, as Andreas Seidl adds more on F1 2022.

One of the most consistent drivers on the grid in the early part last year, McLaren’s Norris has had a tough start to 2022 with 15th in Bahrain but he had a spirited drive to seventh at Jeddah. But the key question is what’s ailing them and as per the Brit, it is mostly lack of downforce and it is not due to porpoising.

“Downforce,” started Norris. “Just overall grip. It’s quite a simple thing. Like there’s quite a few times when the balance has been in a decent place. And if the balance is in a decent place, but you just slow then it’s quite a simple thing of what you need. So there’s not loads of problems, it’s just one, I guess, one big problem, which is very costly in the world of Formula 1, because all you need is downforce and that’s what we’re struggling with a minute. So that’s what we need to work on.”

Two weeks on now this weekend with Melbourne, there has been an improvement in terms of results but with further time on between Saudi and Australia, between the race team and the factory floor, the key issue is can they sustain this progress and take the fight to the teams ahead and how much work is going at MTC.

“It’s not a not an easy thing to say exactly when, or the timescale or anything,” said Norris. “But I have good faith that we’ve not come out strong and we’ve struggled a little bit, definitely, in the first race but there’s hope and there’s a good team back in MTC already working on a on a good plan to f put things back together.

“And I guess just try and understand everything on where it’s gone wrong and what we’ve missed, and so on. And as soon as we figure that out, then then there is. James Key is working hard already and was already as soon as we realised where we were standing compared to other teams, putting that plan in place of recovering and trying to get back to much higher positions,” summed up Norris.

The Brit made his F1 debut in Melbourne in 2019 when Andreas Seidl joined the team as well in May. Each season since then, McLaren and Norris have got better and 2022 is statistically has been their worst start to a season of those four years with their lowest points after two races. A poor start compared with 2020 and 2021 but will the team see it like that in terms of their own happiness, morale, motivation and contentment.

“You can’t lie,” said Norris. “If you have points and you have success and you have podiums, there’s always a rise in morale. So, I don’t think it’s got worse, I think there’s expectations, of course, and we want to… as just racing people…  we want to have success and do well. We’re never going to be as happy P16 compared to if we were P8 or P7 or whatever. So, there’s always just a little bit of our happiness gone.

“But at the same time, I think the key thing is everyone’s still very motivated. There’s still such a long season to go. And even if it is two months of struggling, or six, seven, eight races of struggling, I think everyone’s quite confident and just motivated within themselves and with other people, that we can make good progress again, and get back to where we should be.

“I don’t think we can be happy with where we are. I think that’s the point of what I’m trying to say: we can’t be happy, and therefore we’re not but the important thing is we’re all motivated still to get back to where we know we should be,” summed up Norris.

Next up of course is Melbourne, a track which in hindsight is a mixture of Bahrain and Jeddah with the track changes that have been made and they are trying to bring improvements for Melbourne. “Typical motivation for all of us to keep working hard,” said team boss Seidl to media including

“We want to bring all the performances to the car at the next races as quickly as we can. Understanding the current strengths and weaknesses of the car.  We need to see what improvements we can make to be ready for Melbourne. At the same time I don’t expect miracles there except we have a bit more time. To be honest, it’s still early days.”

Well documented in Bahrain were the issues that McLaren had with brakes and with a week turnaround to Jeddah, there was little or no time for a full resolution to the issue. Behind the scenes, they have come up with an interim solution and working on a full-time solution to the issue that popped up in Bahrain test.

“We are still running the Interim brake solution at the moment because with the time available it was the only solution and not a reliable solution we could bring to the car which is definitely not optimum that be bring to performance but independent of that we simply lack grip which is the result of missing mechanical grip and aerodynamic grip on the car which is definitely not an issue of the current brake ducts.” said Seidl.

“Obviously the intensive work we had to do due to experiencing this issue at the test was definitely costing us some resources that we would have liked to use for more development so that was definitely not ideal and I would say some compromises or delays in order to bring performances to the car but in the end we have to accept the situation as it is. The team back home is really looking for answers for the next 2 weeks in order to understand exactly how we can bring improvements to our performance.”

McLaren were very impressive and consistent last season and the icing on the cake was the 1-2 at Monza, but so far in 2022, the two circuits, they have performed at opposite ends and Norris has been open that the team will be up and down throughout the year.

At the moment, the upgrades they are bringing they want it to be all-rounder but it will still depend on variables. “To be honest, it is still early days, and it is not that straightforward to define all the upgrades in detail that we want to bring in the course of the season and also a reaction of what we have seen in the first two races in terms of performance deficit,” said Seidl to

“But the goal is clear for us as a team that we get back to where we want to be and where we have to be and that is dependent on all kinds of tracks irrespective of layout, tyre selection etc.  Im convinced we have the team to do it, to strike back, we are motivated, a united approach as well, just simply now we need a bit more time,” summed up Seidl.

Here’s Lando Norris and Andreas Seidl on realistic terms

Here’s McLaren after Bahrain