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Lando Norris not fully comfortable with 2024 McLaren

Lando Norris is still working to find a better balance in his MCL38.

With two rounds of the 2024 F1 season complete, Lando Norris sits in 9th place in the standings. After an encouraging first race in Bahrain, a failed Safety Car gamble forced the British driver to settle for a somewhat uninspiring result.

Still, Oscar Piastri showed what the MCL38 was capable of by securing P4. The Woking-based outfit is now a firm frontrunner in Formula 1, albeit a few steps behind Red Bull and Ferrari.

Like twelve months ago, team principal Andrea Stella is targeting an aggressive development programme to advance his team.

However, pure performance is not the only objective within the McLaren garage.

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So far this year, Lando Norris is not fully satisfied with the driving characteristics of his 2024 challenger.

This year’s car is a clear step forward in terms of raw lap time, but this does not necessarily translate to driver comfort.

Speaking on this issue, Norris outlined that he is yet to gel with the MCL38:

“I think we’ve made some good steps in many areas, and I think just pure development steps like every team would be making,” motorsportweek quotes him as saying.

“But in terms of us as McLaren and the characteristics we’ve had as a McLaren car, definitely not as much as what I wanted and was hoping for over the winter.

“But that’s completely known between everyone, and there’s really good progress going on.”

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Norris works to find incremental gains

These comments are not particularly new for Norris, who has stated in previous seasons that McLaren’s F1 cars are not compatible with his driving style.

Like all drivers, of course, maximising your package regardless of personal preferences is necessary.

It cannot be said Norris has failed in this aspect, having established himself as the benchmark for the team.

Still, observing the gap between the British driver and his up-and-coming teammate will be fascinating.

Oscar Piastri is already showing tremendous maturity and consistency, in many ways speed-running the learning curve that can take F1 rookies years to master.

The 22-year-old has started his 2024 campaign in a similar fashion to how he concluded last season- with performance and consistency.

McLaren is one of the only teams with both drivers under contract for next season. In many ways, Piastri’s rapid progress has solved the team’s driver headache from eighteen months ago.

With this context, Andrea Stella’s squad has the privilege of two drivers who can push each other to the limit.

This will surely hasten Norris’ efforts to fine-tune the MCL38.

Ferrari, Mercedes and Aston Martin are starting 2024 with very new packages compared to last season.

The situation is different for McLaren, whose existing car is an evolution from 2023.

As a result, searching for marginal gains (until the team’s first major upgrades) will be standard at Woking for the foreseeable future.


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