Norris on McLaren’s struggles: “Not much has changed on the car – it’s fairly similar to last year”

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McLaren head into this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix on the back foot as they are set to start the season off towards the back of the field.

Zak Brown and new team principal Andrea Stella have both said not to expect too much from the team in the opening races as a lack of performance on the car is going to hold them back.

Speaking during media day in Bahrain, Lando Norris conceded the team did not make a step forward like others have.

“I don’t know the exact numbers yet, we don’t know exactly yet where we’re going to be,” he said. “But wherever it is, just wait to see where we are this weekend and kind of go from there.

“I don’t think we’re in a bad position which I guess is the main thing. We’re just not in a good of a position as what everyone would be expecting and we were probably expecting from ourselves.

“We were expecting to have taken a bit of a step from where we were last year, and that is just something we have not necessarily done compared to some of the other teams around us. Therefore we’re not in a position that we want to be.”

McLaren hope to properly kickstart their season at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix with an upgrade package to help improve the performance of the MCL60.

Norris is hopeful that it will, and he says it’s a case of maximising what they have until that stage.

“I hope so. I don’t want to say too many things until the time arrives. That’s one thing I’ve learned about Formula One,” he stated.

“The season will start now, it’s as simple as that. As much as we want to believe it maybe starts later, it’s starting now.

“We’re behind where we should be and where we want to be. What we want to be having in Baku should be what we’re starting the season with – if we want to be a top team.

“Until then, we’ll just do the best we can to make the most of what we have now. It’s the same as every other team and what their objectives are. No matter where we are – if we are 10th, we are 15th or whatever – we remain optimistic that we make the progress later in the season.”

The 23-year-old is “not at all” surprised that the team find themselves where they are.

“Not much has changed on the car – it’s fairly similar to last year,” said Norris. “We’re in a position where we expect to be – which I guess is a good thing in a way – because we know we didn’t achieve that much over the winter.

“We are achieving where we expect to be. We set our goals higher and we just didn’t achieve our goals.”

Photos: McLaren Racing