Lando Norris feels that McLaren is still “a very long way behind Red Bull and Ferrari” after F1 Testing in Bahrain

Photo Credit: McLaren F1 Team
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After showing promising development in 2023, McLaren was anticipated to be a formidable competitor in the 2024 season. However, recent lap times indicate that other teams might have made bigger gains than them over the winter, such as Scuderia Ferrari.

Lando Norris driving for McLaren F1 Team at the 2024 Bahrain Test
Photo Credit: McLaren Racing

Red Bull Racing, F1’s dominant team over the past two seasons, demonstrated consistent and quick long runs during testing at Sakhir, reinforcing their speed again. Additionally, Ferrari showcased a more stable and balanced SF-24, which appears to have addressed the race pace and tyre degradation issues they faced in 2023.

Despite believing McLaren has made significant progress and is starting the season on a stronger footing than previous years, Lando Norris expressed his certainty that both Red Bull and Ferrari will outperform McLaren at the season opener next Saturday.

He remarked: “Do I think we’ve taken a step forward? Absolutely.

“Do I think we’ve made a lot of things better? Yes.

“But you just never really know at the end of the day where we stand compared to the others. I think we’re in a good position. We had a decent car at the end of last season.

“I think we’ve definitely taken some steps in the right direction, but I think it’s still a very long way behind Red Bull and a long way behind Ferrari. So, plenty of work for us to still try and achieve, but also plenty of things that we’ve learned over the last few days for us to implement before next week.”

McLaren’s running was hampered by a series of minor issues with their new car, including the clutch. It particularly affected Norris, who completed only 145 laps over three days. Although he missed out on valuable long runs, Norris remained optimistic, describing the problems as “not the end of the world.”

Reflecting on the setbacks, Norris explained: “Yes, just a few setbacks here and there over the last few days. Not the end of the world, definitely, but you always want a perfect day.

“We didn’t get any long-running high-fuel stuff [Thursday] night, and we moved into [Friday] morning, and we still didn’t get it.

“So, not exactly what I wanted, but still plenty of things learned and a lot of stuff that I wanted to get done. I was happy for the most part, but [there are] a couple little things that I wish I could have done more.”