Had Zak Brown’s five-year plan for McLaren, to win in Formula 1, worked Lando Norris would be winning races about now or at least in with a fighting chance but, instead, after another disappointing showing in Miami for the Pappayas on Sunday, he took comfort in “what doesn’t break us makes us stronger.”
The 23-year-old is in his fifth season of F1, a period in which he proved many times, with a handy race car, he is a front-runner; his destruction of teammate Daniel Ricciardo over two years was ample evidence of that. But with a bad package, which the McLaren MCL60 is, he is struggling at the wrong end of the field.
Norris has ten points to his name after five races so far this season, with a no-score in Miami last weekend, after updates for the troublesome car bombed. On Sunday, the best of the McLaren duo trundled home in 17th, a minute and a half down on race winner Max Verstappen in the Red Bull; while Lando’s teammate, rookie Oscar Piastri was 19th, and a lap down on the #1 Red Bull when he crossed the finish line.
After Miami last year, Lando had 35 points, this year he has 10
Speaking on the McLaren Unboxed show, Norris summed up Miami from his perspective: “It was a very tough weekend for us, for a number of reasons we just struggled with the car, the conditions the track layout, everything was just tough. As bad as can be in terms of showing our weaknesses even more than what we would have liked.”
“I guess it’s a good thing, a little bit more learning for the whole team but also tough because our pace made it very difficult to compete against the others, So difficult but it’s been a fun weekend, Miami’s been great and I look forward to coming back here next year. What doesn’t break us makes us stronger,” declared Norris.
While highly-rated rookie Piastri familiarises himself with the backend of the grid, as the senior driver in the team, Lando will need to guide McLaren closer to the top of the 2023 F1 standings, hopefully for Macca fans, the “strength” Norris gained from his team’s virtual no-show in Miami will translate into solid results at Imola.
Meanwhile, ahead of Round 6 – the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Norris lies ninth in the 2023 F1 drivers’ standings on ten points with Piastri out of the top ten, in 13th with four points. Last year after Miami, Norris had 35 points in P7.