McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has indicated that the torrid race the team suffered at the season-opening 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix was merely a blip.
Lando Norris managed 199 laps of running at the second test in Bahrain as Daniel Ricciardo sat out the three days having contracted COVID-19, and they were hampered by a combination of brake and engine issues that prevented them from collecting indispensable data as they tried to get thier heads around the new technical regulations.
In the opening round of the season a week later, neither McLaren reached the third and final qualifying session for the first time since 2020, and both Norris and Ricciardo finished outside the top 10 in a sobering night for the Woking-based squad.
Norris quipped that he had enjoyed an “amazing race,” and the pace of the car was execrable to the point that he wore the tyres trying to be “too optimistic” in an attempt to compensate.
The Briton added that things were likely going to get worse before they got better.
“I’m expecting pain, and I think everyone needs to know there’s probably going to be a bit of pain,” he said.
“As McLaren, and myself, we expect a lot more, but it’s not what we have at the minute, we have to get used to it, we’ve been in this position a few years ago but we have to remain optimistic the team and everyone back at MTC [McLaren Technology Centre] can figure things out and we can get back on track.
“I’m hoping this is as bad as it gets, might not be, could be, there’s a lot of time, we still have a whole season of development and figuring things out.”
Norris, however, picked up six points in Saudi Arabia before Ricciardo sealed his first points of the season in Melbourne, and the 22-year-old would seal a podium at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix with a splendid performance that saw him capitalise on Ferrari’s woes.
“We’ve just got another podium, who would have thought?” he exclaimed on the radio after the race, before congratulating the team on the remarkable work they have done to resurrect their season.
Seidl insinuates that the result in Bahrain was being catastrophised as a result of a lack of data from the car as they struggled to get much running done in Bahrain, but the collective of vital information since then has steered them back in the right direction.
“We now believe that Bahrain was just a slip-up. We simply didn’t have enough data on the new car due to the problems during the test drives,” he told Auto Motor und Sport.
Norris lifted himself to sixth in the Drivers’ Championship with his P3 in Imola, while Ricciardo continues to endure a difficult start to the year having collided with Carlos Sainz on the opening lap of the race.