Why Lando Norris doesn’t like his upgraded McLaren MCL60 ‘at all’

While the facelifted MCL60 may have catapulted McLaren into Formula One’s pecking order, it’s still a challenger that Lando Norris says isn’t up to par in the slightest.

First it was Aston Martin and then McLaren proved once again that a huge chunk of performance can be found with the right developments in F1 2023.

McLaren began its upgrade program for the MCL60 in Austria, which has seen the team go from battling for points to competing with Mercedes, Aston Martin and Ferrari to be recognized as the second fastest outfit.

Lando Norris doesn’t feel right for the MCL60

McLaren’s machines in recent seasons have been notorious for not being the easiest to drive, with both Norris and former team-mate Daniel Ricciardo claiming that the two previous challengers did not suit their driving style well, Norris apparently handling it better than Ricciardo.

And despite the team having taken a huge step towards their goal of returning to fight for wins and titles in Formula 1, Norris still says the MCL60 measures how he wants to drive a racing car in many ways, the the same is still true of his team-mate, who is now impressive Australian rookie Oscar Piastri.

“It’s not just my liking, it’s Oscar’s too because we have quite similar comments,” Norris is quoted as saying by “Like last year, even when Daniel was driving, we had a lot of similar comments, every day, every weekend.

“It’s hard to describe. You have to drive it one way. But it’s also a way I don’t want to drive, nor do I like to drive.

“I don’t like driving the car the way I have to drive it now. I feel like it’s not my strong point at all.

“I want to be able to carry minimal speed and do a U in a corner. And the last thing I can do in the world now is ‘U’ a corner. I have to “V” the corner more than ever, and I’ve never been the biggest fan of doing that. And I don’t like it that much.

“Basically, the car just likes to go in a straight line. I mean, it doesn’t even go very fast in a straight line!” recommends

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Of course, there must be serious advantages to the MCL60, and indeed, Norris says the challenger is “very good at straight-line braking”, a particular advantage in certain wet-weather scenarios, with Piastri having “nailed” those conditions at Spa in almost claiming the pole sprint, before recording a P2 finish in the race.

But Norris returns to the downside of being stuck having to drive the car only one way, and that way he doesn’t like it.

“We’re very good at braking, braking in a straight line, that’s why we were so quick in the wet at times,” continued Norris.

“I wouldn’t say we’re quick in the wet as a general note, we’re quick in the wet when braking is a big key, like in Monaco. Builds tire temperature, builds confidence.

“Then we’re fast, but we’re not really fast in the corners when it’s wet. So there are certain things that allow us to be competitive.

“But it’s just being able to have room to do different lines and drive in different ways. If the wind changes, if the conditions change, different fuel loads, tire degradation, we always have to ride a certain way.

“And it’s not a way I like right now, it’s a way I’ve had to adapt to. I still have to adapt a lot as a driver and it’s a long way from the car I want to be able to drive.”

The whole chase has a lot of work ahead of it if it is to catch up to the dominant Red Bull team, which has taken all 12 grand prix wins so far in F1 2023.

Max Verstappen tops the Drivers’ Championship with a 125-point lead over Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez, while Red Bull are 256 points clear of nearest rivals Mercedes in the Constructors’ standings.

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