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McLaren will "need a lot more" than Baku F1 upgrade to fight for P4 - Norris

Lando Norris says McLaren will "need a lot more" than its Baku package if it is to aim for the top four in the 2023 Formula 1 season.

Lando Norris, McLaren

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

McLaren is bracing for a tough start in Bahrain with a draggy car that has missed its launch targets, with the Woking team realising too late it had gone in the wrong direction.

Due to the lead times involved, it will take McLaren until the Azerbaijan Grand Prix at the end of April to introduce an upgrade package that represented the car it should have started the season with.

Facing the prospect of losing ground to its midfield rivals in what is shaping up to be an extremely tight battle, Norris hopes the Baku package is a first step towards addressing the car's limitations.

"We know we need a step in efficiency, we need more downforce. We also need to go in the straights quicker," Norris said.

"So, there's obviously a path we need to try and find, and I believe we're slowly finding our way there, but we need a lot more.

"It's not just small things. We need some bigger things just it still takes a long time to achieve. But hopefully this is a bit of a pathway to that."

Norris thinks that compared to last year, McLaren now has a "clearer plan" on how to overcome the MCL60's weaknesses, when it lost out to Alpine in the fight over fourth.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

"We're in a reasonable position to start the season but we have similar limitations to what we did last year. But I think this year we have a clearer plan on how to tackle those changes than what we did last year," he explained.

"I think it's a mixture of two things. One is the general balance and two is overall downforce.

"Overall downforce kind of fixes 90% of the problems but to become that final step, there is other things on top of it."

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While McLaren has repeatedly stated it is banking on the new wind tunnel and simulator to come online this summer to be able to make bigger steps, Norris feels the team still needs to be able to achieve more with the tools it currently has at its disposal.

"I think we have a lot of what we need. Of course, we still know that the wind tunnel is coming, the simulator is coming, two things that will definitely help us take another step forward, but we need to do more with what we have now already," he added.

"What we're having in Baku should be what we're starting the season with. If you want to be a top team, it's where we should've started the season with those kinds of parts which are coming.

"But until then, we'll just do the best we can to make the most of what we have now."

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