Norris unable to drive McLaren F1 car the way he wants

Lando Norris has admitted that even he is unable to drive McLaren's Formula 1 car exactly like he wants, despite his run of podiums.

Norris unable to drive McLaren F1 car the way he wants

In the wake of Daniel Ricciardo's struggles to adapt to the McLaren MCL35M, team principal Andreas Seidl conceded over the Monaco GP weekend that the current car needs a 'special' driving style.

And while Ricciardo's difficulty to deliver that has been obvious as he has been on the backfoot in the early 2021 races, team-mate Norris' situation has not been so clear.

But despite taking podium finishes at Imola and Monaco, Norris says that it has been hard to get the most out of the current McLaren – and he is not able to push it in a way that he could in previous cars.

"This year the car is different, and there are different things on the car that you have to drive in a different way," he explained ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

"I'm still learning a lot now, with every race that we do, about the car. I would say Monaco was my best qualifying that I've done, but I made mistakes in previous qualifying and races because of not knowing about the car enough.

"I'm still learning a lot of things and, especially in Bahrain, for example, and in the first couple of races of the season, I was driving it too much like last year's car and I had to adapt a lot to this year's car.

"So there are definitely a lot of differences and it's not been easy going from last year, the last two years, to this year."

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Photo by: Erik Junius

Norris said that a preference for car set-up that he learned in junior categories won't work with the current McLaren, which is why he is still finding his feet with it.

"I can't just drive it the same way and then just be a better driver," he said. "I've had to adapt to a lot of different things, and I still can't necessarily drive it the way that I want to, as a preference from how I drove in Formula 3 and Formula 4 and things like that.

"I can't drive it the way that I want. So a bit of it is just you have to adapt, and every car in F1 is different and you have to get used to it."

Read Also:

Ricciardo endured a difficult Monaco GP weekend and has spent time in the McLaren simulator since then to try to help make progress in getting more comfortable.

"I did spend a good few days on the sim last week, and it was really just trying to take a step back and understand what's going on, and let's say how the car works and what kind of needs to be done to get the car working well," said the Australian.

"In a way I kind of - I don't want to say started from zero because I've definitely learned a bit the first few races - but just had more of an open mind with my approach. We just tried lots of different things and even things that don't feel, let's say, correct. We'll try them and then understand why that doesn't work.

"So we just played around a lot. And certainly some things now do seem more clear to me, and I think it was really productive to do that. So I'm just looking forward to putting it in [action]."

shares
comments

Related video

Verstappen "can't be bothered" with mind games in F1 title fight
Previous article

Verstappen "can't be bothered" with mind games in F1 title fight

Next article

Why F1 shouldn't be too rigid about flexi-wings

Why F1 shouldn't be too rigid about flexi-wings
How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge Plus

How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge

While creating a car that is woefully off the pace is a nightmare scenario for any team, it inadvertently generates the test any engineering department would relish: to turn it into a winner. As Mercedes takes on that challenge in Formula 1 this season, McLaren’s former head of vehicle engineering reveals how the team pulled of the feat in 2009 with Lewis Hamilton

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future Plus

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future

Personable, articulate 
and devoid of the usual
 racing driver airs and graces,
 Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…

Formula 1
Aug 13, 2022
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Plus

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

Formula 1
Aug 12, 2022
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Plus

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Plus

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24 into a winning car with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. And now it’s happening again at his current team, but can the rate of progress be matched this year?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell Plus

Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Plus

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

Formula 1
Aug 8, 2022
How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay Plus

How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay

Winner of 13 grands prix including Monaco and survivor of a life-changing plane crash, David Coulthard could be forgiven for having eased into a quiet retirement – but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, in fact he’s busier than ever, running an award-winning media company and championing diversity in motor racing. Not bad for someone who, by his own admission, wasn’t quite the fastest driver of his generation…

Formula 1
Aug 7, 2022