Jolyon Palmer suggests it’s time for Lando Norris to ditch McLaren

McLaren endured a disaster start to the 2023 season with both cars suffering issues in Bahrain.

Heading into the Bahrain Grand Prix, not much was expected of McLaren, with the team already admitting that they had missed a number of targets in pre-season testing.

The team had the season opener from hell however, with both of their cars struggling from different issues.

Rookie Oscar Piastri was forced to retire from his first F1 race on the 13th lap while Lando Norris was forced to pit five times due to a pneumatic problem before eventually retiring as well.

Norris has been tipped as a future world champion and linked with the likes of Red Bull in the past but has consistently put his faith in McLaren, the team that brought him into F1.

READ: Mercedes fans demand senior team figure be sacked

The Brit has signed a long-term deal with the team and has repeatedly shown faith in their project that will potentially see the team return to their title ways of old.

F1 analyst Jolyon Palmer has now admitted that he feels sympathetic for Norris, with all of his faith in the McLaren still yet to pay dividends following the team’s disaster start to 2023.

“McLaren, well it’s what we thought from testing. They’re struggling,” said Palmer on F1TV’s post-race show.

“Lando got in the top 10 at the start, but didn’t have the pace and dropping back, then had just a repeated of reliability issues and it was a testing session for them.

Article continues below

“The pace was really poor for McLaren. Lando I though was brilliant to get as close as he did to Q3 but he only got through to Q2 because he was the first driver to do the lap. It could have been both McLarens out in Q1.

READ: Fernando Alonso’s charm offensive not just limited to Lance Stroll

“And then he gets into the top 10, he’s overtaken by [Alex] Albon and then has [Logan] Sargeant on debut in the Williams hassling him.

“I mean, this is a guy who’s had a pole, he’s been fighting for podiums and got one last year, he shouldn’t be fighting at the back so I feel a bit sad for Lando with the state that McLaren is in.”

The benefits of McLaren’s new state-of-the-art wind tunnel facility are not expected to be felt until next season, meaning that Norris may have to endure another difficult year at McLaren before trying again in 2024.