Formula 1

F1 News: Lando Norris Gives MCL38 Verdict – “Long Way Behind Red Bull And Ferrari”

Lando Norris acknowledges improvements in the 2024 car but underscores that they fall short of posing a challenge to Red Bull or Ferrari. Despite McLaren’s progress with the MCL38, Norris recognizes they are still far from challenging the leading teams, as revealed during the pre-season test at Bahrain.

Key Takeaways:

  • Bahrain’s pre-season test highlighted McLaren’s progress with the MCL38, but Lando Norris acknowledges they are still far from challenging Red Bull and Ferrari.
  • Red Bull’s RB20, featuring a new design, defied expectations with consistent performance on various tire sets, challenging assumptions about potential risks.
  • Ferrari demonstrated speed with their new SF-24, signaling competitiveness against Red Bull. Despite McLaren’s improvements, Norris recognizes the gap and acknowledges the work ahead. Car issues limited Norris to 145 laps during testing.

The RB20 featured a new design this year, sparking speculation that venturing into the Mercedes lane could be a risky move for Red Bull. Contrary to expectations, the new car exhibited consistent performance across various tire sets.

Ferrari too, secured the fastest lap times with both its drivers, thanks to an all-new car concept the Manarello outfit chased over the winter break to challenge Red Bull this season.

Last year, McLaren picked up pace mid-season after a series of upgrades, which led many to believe that the Papaya team could produce a Red Bull killer this year. However, Norris has dismissed the idea as of now, emphasizing that plenty of work still remains to be done on the car despite the improvements from last year.

Speaking to the media on the final day of testing, Norris said:

“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.”

Due to specific car issues, Norris was limited to completing only 145 laps, leaving him desiring more extended runs. He added:

“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.”

In conclusion, while McLaren’s efforts with the MCL38 show promise, Lando Norris’s assessment indicates a significant gap between McLaren and the frontrunners, Red Bull and Ferrari. The journey towards contention seems to be a long and arduous one for the team.

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