Norris: Altogether I’m more confident going into this season

Lando Norris, McLaren

Lando Norris said that he is more confident going into his third season in Formula 1 after learning valuable lessons during his sophomore campaign last year.

This season will be of great significance to the McLaren squad as they return to Mercedes power for the first time since 2014. On the back of a successful season where they achieved third place in the constructors’ standings after an intense battle in the midfield.

In addition to the new power unit, McLaren will be also fielding a revised driver lineup. Daniel Ricciardo has joined the team from Renault to replace Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz and partner Norris; creating one of the most exciting driver line-ups on the F1 grid.

Speaking during a media session ahead of the unveiling of the car he will be driving during the 2021 season, Norris shed some light on the preparation he and the team have been doing for the new season.

“I’ve done a few days here at McLaren now, and we’ve been reviewing a lot of things from last year, preparing for this year,” he said. “It wasn’t like I had a bad end to the year.

“I think Abu Dhabi was a perfect way to end last year, both in qualifying and the race. It was not perfect but I was very happy with how I ended.”

On his mid-season struggles with the car, the British youngster said: “But there was like a more of a rough patch in the middle where from a qualifying perspective, I struggled a little bit more. And that was just with my confidence in the car and not setting up the car quite as much as I wanted and it kind of, with the developments over the season, you have to drive the car in a slightly different way. And it just made it a bit more or a bit harder and wasn’t as optimized let’s say for how I drive the car.”

Norris went on: “And towards the end of the season we based it more back to what I want in terms of having some more confidence in the car again. And I feel like I was able to perform better so I think there’s just, there’s still things, you know, I’m understanding, we as a team, and my engineers are understanding, but also in my second season as less as obvious things compared to year one to kind of reflect on, and look back on, and know as easily what to improve, so there’s a large amount of smaller things which are already taking place. 

“It’s just about trying to work on those smaller things, but I think altogether I’m just a little bit more confident again that I can go into this season, into the winter test, into the first race, and knowing what I really want, and knowing what I want in the car for my engineers, and we work just a little bit more in harmony altogether. And, that will bring more performance from my side, and as a team,” the British racer concluded.

McLaren have struggled since joining forces with Honda in 2015. They switched to Renault power in 2018 and steadily progressed since then, with Andreas Seidl joining as team boss in 2019.

The team will be hoping that renewing their Mercedes partnership gives them the extra push they need to return to their winning ways.