Lando Norris conceded on Thursday that he and his McLaren team may face a lengthy development struggle to improve the disappointing season-opening performance of their new car.
At last year’s Italian Grand Prix, the highly-rated young British driver was led home by his experienced Australian team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in a one-two triumph and the team’s first win since 2012, as McLaren rose to fourth in the constructors’ championship.
But they fell back to earth last Sunday at the Bahrain Grand Prix, finishing 14th and 15th and Norris admitted he expects to be fighting for places at the back of the field for some time before the team improve their car.
Speaking to reporters at the Jeddah Street Circuit, Norris said he was depending on McLaren technical director James Key to resolve their problems, but admitted it may require an overhaul.
“It could be anything, I think it could be our (design) philosophy it could be one of many things,” he said. “James is here with us at the track and he is seeing everything and understands what can be wrong and what the issues may be.”
“It’s not for me to say what we’ve done right or wrong and I think the team probably knows what’s been done right and wrong.
“Maybe we just need to find a different way, a different path.
“James will be on top of it. I know he and the team and everyone back at the factory will work hard to figure it out.”
Like the factory Mercedes, who have won eight straight constructors’ titles, and the other tams it supples with power units to — Aston Martin and Williams, McLaren have struggled with a variety performance issues including ‘bouncing’, also known as ‘porpoising’.
This has resulted in hampering their ability to produce stable and fast lap times under the new ‘ground effect’ technical regulations.
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