Lando Norris is brutally realistic of McLaren’s chances in 2022 F1 season after Saudi Arabia, as Andreas Seidl adds on current situation.
After a strong and consistent 2021, McLaren have had a very disheartening start to the current campaign. A poor weekend in Bahrain was followed up with seventh place for Norris and a late race retirement for Daniel Ricciardo. They suffer from lack of downforce as but from results point of view, it is a fall from grace after last season’s success.
For Norris, picking up seventh place was a better day than in Bahrain, a positive but still not quite there yet. In an interview with F1 TV, the Brit was being as realistic as possible even when the presenter tried to find positives for the McLaren driver.
“I mean, we are in a similar place to before honestly, if we went back to Bahrain we would still be terrible so I think we have to be honest with that,” said Norris. “I mean it was a good day for us, we went forward, we caught cars which we didn’t expect to catch like the Alpine so they are the positives but we have a lot of work to do so.”
Like in life, McLaren will have good days and not so good. There are tracks that will suit them and tracks that will not as per Norris. If anything, the Brit is very philosophical on that note, downbeat maybe but rather honest also.
“Like we need a couple of months not a couple of weeks but we will see what we can do,” he said when asked of recovery. “If we have a track which is high speed like Jeddah then yes but if it was back to Bahrain then no. The only way is not up for us, it can also be down. I love to be positive but for slow speed we are really bad, we are a long way off”.
“Bahrain was evidence of that. When we come to a track like Jeddah, we can show more the speed that our can has got in the medium and high speed corners and that is where we were strong, that’s where I could catch Esteban but if we had more slow speed corners, I would struggle a lot more”.
“So, the slow speed tracks, we are going to struggle and we know that and expect that but tracks like here and maybe Australia because it’s a bit more high speed with the changes this year maybe its suits us a bit more,” summed up Norris.
For McLaren, the only way is up, while the points placing for Norris may be towards the lower part of the top ten, at least they are up and running even though last year this time around they were better. Team Boss Seidl give’s his view on the race itself and how the team are doing right now.
“In terms of the results, I am very happy,” said Seidl to media including FormulaRapida.net. “Finishing P7 and six points, we will take them. For us, it is great for morale and the entire team considering the start we had to the season. In terms of competitiveness, we definitely made a step forward compared to Bahrain mainly for two reasons”.
“Firstly we could catch up compared to what we had lost at the test and compared to the other teams going into Bahrain race weekend. Now with everything we have learned during our first race weekend, we could apply in Jeddah but then I think it is also clear for the current package that we have, we know we have a lack of performance”.
“The track was definitely suiting our car with the medium and high speed corners and that’s why we have been more competitive. At the same time we should not get carried away with the result. In the end we scored a good result. I think the team did a great job. Not only that but we had first and third quickest pit stop time which shows that all the hard work we are putting in is paying off which is good to see”.
“And then for sure we have two great drivers I would say with Daniel and Lando really maximising everything at the moment with this car. We do not forget also that we benefited with cars dropping out also,” summed up Seidl. While Norris was able to secure the points, Ricciardo retired with a suspected engine issue which was a first for them”.
“On Daniels side, it was something we experienced for the first time,” said Seidl. “Obviously we apologised to Daniel, but we didn’t give him the material he deserves to have. It was a strong weekend. I think in the end we have seen the pace was quite similar, Lando had a bit of tyre advantage, by simply stopping later to hard tyres”.
“That’s why he also could overtake Daniel on track and we also wanted Daniel not to make it difficult for Lando to optimise result to see if Lando could actually have a go. But I think Daniel at this point in time had the pace to keep going to get with Lando and stay in position. Typical motivation for all of us to keep working hard. We want to bring all the performances to the car at the next races as quickly as we can,” summed up Seidl.
Here’s McLaren after Bahrain