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Norris wants better behaved McLaren F1 car, not ultimate performance

Lando Norris has pushed McLaren to make the MCL60 Formula 1 challenger “better to drive in general” compared to its predecessor rather than purely chase the "quickest car".

Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing, Andrea Stella, McLaren Team Principal, Lando Norris, McLaren, Oscar Piastri, McLaren

Norris told Autosport that former team-mate Daniel Ricciardo enjoyed a much smoother acclimatisation to the new breed of ground-effects machinery in the early part of 2022.

The Briton added that he was forced to significantly change his driving style to adapt to last year’s MCL36 but brake cooling issues in Bahrain testing had severely limited his mileage.

He therefore reckoned it took a third of the 2022 season for him to feel truly comfortable pushing in the car and the rest of the season to continue to fine tune his inputs.

As such, Norris has put the pressure on his team to make the MCL60 machine better to drive and offer more consistent cornering balance rather than chase ultimate performance.

PLUS: How can McLaren keep hold of Norris?

Speaking at the car’s launch on Monday, he explained: “There's definitely been a little bit more of a push from my side from last year into this year to not just try to create the best car, or quickest car.

“I believe for us to start taking the biggest steps, we needed to try and change some more fundamental things - some things that I think as a team we've struggled with for the past three or four years that I have been part of McLaren.

“That's something I pushed pretty hard on last season, is to have these little things that just keep coming up with every different car.

“Whether it was a last era car or a [ground-effects] car, there's some things which are very similar, which we weren’t able to understand or change much of.

“For my side, I just want to be able to figure those things out and unlock it and be able to not just have a car which is fast or whatever but have a car which is also better to drive in general and unlock a different balance.”

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Elaborating on his frustrations with car behaviour in 2022, speaking exclusively to Autosport at last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Norris revealed: “I really struggled with a bit of everything.

“General cornering - the way you had to drive it is almost the complete opposite of the way I want to drive a car.

“I had to adapt and change my driving style a lot. Every corner was on such a knife-edge.

PLUS: Why McLaren's 2023 may be a building year, despite new F1 car's Red Bull hints

“It’s impossible to be on it every single lap in every single qualifying and in every race. I struggled to find the limit.

“I struggled to adapt to how you have to drive every corner separately. It’s never the same in every corner… if [the car was designed to suit me], they’ve done a terrible job of achieving that!”

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