Last year McLaren boasted about how the MCL32 was the best chassis on the grid supposedly only hampered by Honda’s problematic power unit, thus much was expected of the Renault-powered McLaren MCL33.
But the new car has not delivered to expectations, earlier this week the team’s ace young driver Lando Norris had the chance to sample both cars back-to-back during two days of testing at Circuit de Catalunya.
Norris tested the current car on Wednesday, while a day earlier he was on duty for Pirelli at the wheel of last year’s car.
He compared the two after the final day of in-season testing in Barcelona, “There’s definitely some differences. Positive, I think, in quite a few ways, but there’s still some things with the old one which are always positive, so it’s trying to combine them and get both on one car which would make it even faster, basically.”
“I think in general it’s a bit more downforce, it’s good for me having the confidence to push at [Turn] 1, 2, 3, all the high-speed corners. I think overall it’s definitely been a slight step forward. I wouldn’t say there’s many things which are weaker.”
“I think in some ways, a bit more downforce with the newer package… it becomes maybe a tiny bit more snappy or something, but overall I could still go through corners slightly faster. I think if I did make a mistake it’d be slightly more costly.”
“I think the old one was a bit, not more ‘predictable’, but slightly more forgiving in some ways, I don’t think it’s maybe so much the downforce, but trying to maximize the newer package,” explained Norris who completed 80 laps of testing on Wednesday.