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Formula 1 Singapore GP

Norris gets “exciting” McLaren F1 car upgrade for Singapore GP

Lando Norris will have use of an "exciting" McLaren Formula 1 upgrade at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, which is aimed at specifically addressing the MCL60’s weakness in slow corners.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

Photo by: Erik Junius

McLaren has pushed hard to bring the latest development package to the Marina Bay circuit, but has only produced enough parts for one car to have the entire range of new elements.

Norris will have use of them all this weekend, while team-mate Oscar Piastri will initially have some of the new parts prior to him getting the entire range from next weekend’s Japanese GP.

Beyond the team putting into action a new high-downforce rear wing that it trialled at the Dutch GP, the full range of aero changes will be revealed for the first time on Friday.

Norris said the core focus of the revisions is in lifting the weaknesses that the MCL60 has had at low speed this year, but he has predicted some excitement about the potential shown.

He said it was the most significant car development that McLaren had introduced since the major update that helped turn around its season from the Austrian GP.

“Probably since Austria, it is the thing that we believe will kind of help us move forward the most since then,” he said.

“Obviously, we've not run it on the track yet and so we don't want to say too much until we've actually got it to work properly but it’s a good step.

“The team have worked hard to get it on one of the cars here, and then we'll have the rest in Japan too. So it is an exciting couple of weekends for us.”

Oscar Piastri, McLaren, Lando Norris, McLaren

Oscar Piastri, McLaren, Lando Norris, McLaren

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Norris believed that the confidence that the team took from its Austrian GP development delivering a good step in performance had lifted optimism that the Singapore changes would help from the off.

“Sometimes we would put stuff on and it's not really delivered to what we wanted or what it should have done,” he said.

“But definitely up to Austria and how much we kind of progressed since them, it gives me more hope.

“It’s also a bit more slower speed biased, which is a bit different to what we had in Austria. This is our first time we've been able to really try to target that a bit more.”

While the McLaren upgrades are aimed at improving one of the key problem areas for the car, Norris is under no illusion that it will not cure all the remaining vices of the MCL60.

He still feels there is more work to be done in overcoming the car characteristics that are still hampering him attacking as much as he would like.

“I think it's not going to help in exactly the places where, from a driving style point of view, I would probably want it, but it should just help with a little bit of overall loads, cornering speeds and just kind of consistency, tyre wear traction, things like that," he explained.

“It is just performance enhancement, it's not like something to make me feel better in the car.”

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

Photo by: Erik Junius

Norris believes that critical to McLaren’s chances of closing the gap to Red Bull is in addressing those final weaknesses, rather than building on its strengths.

“That’s 100%, because there are some places where we lose a tremendous amount of lap time at times,” he said.

“It’s down to the same things every time, where we just can't change with a bit of aero balance or mechanical balance.

“No matter what we try we are bad and we struggle, so I think those things let us down in quite a few races. And even at some places we go to, we're extremely competitive on 90% of the track, it's just certain things which then make us look bad.

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“If we didn't have some of these bad things, we would be very strong and a lot more competitive and competing for podiums.”

He added: “If we can fix a little bit of this slow speed [weakness], if I can get a bit more what I believe the car needs to take that next step, a bit of it is what we hopefully will have this weekend, a bit of it will be what I want from a driving style point of view, that's when I'm confident we can take the fight to the majority of the teams, including Red Bull.”

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