‘Small step forward’ for McLaren in Baku, says Norris
April 27, 2023 / 11:10 pm
McLaren’s upgrades for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix will give the team the car they should have had at the start of the Formula One season, according to British driver Lando Norris.
The former champions, who also have Australian new boy Oscar Piastri in their ranks, drew a blank in the first two races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia after admitting they had missed development targets.
Things improved in Melbourne at the beginning of April, when Norris finished sixth and Piastri eighth, with Baku now bringing the first major package of performance improvements.
“I think we were unlucky, which made things look worse than they were in the first few races,” Norris told reporters in Baku on Thursday.
“I think what we have this weekend is just the baseline we should have started the year with, and it’s about understanding what we have now.
“It’s a better baseline. There’s more room for opportunities and more room for improvements with what we have. So it’s definitely going to make us take a small step forward.”
McLaren are fifth overall, four points clear of Renault-owned Alpine, who looked fast in Australia before both cars collided after the third and final standing start and retired.
Alpine also have an upgrade package for Baku, which hosts the first sprint weekend of the season and first using a new stand-alone format.
That will mean two qualifying sessions – on Friday and Saturday.
“I think it’s a better format. I prefer it a long way compared to what we had before… you have more room, more opportunities for everyone. I like the fact that you have two qualifyings,” said Norris.
“I love the format of practice, qualifying on Friday. So the pressure is definitely higher. But yeah, I enjoy it more.”
(C) AAP 2023
The McLaren car is set for a “small step forward” at the Azerbaijan GP, says driver Lando Norris. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)