‘Shocks us’: Lando Norris reveals crippling McLaren weakness

Lando Norris claimed his first points of the season at the 2023 Australian Grand Prix.

Despite a considerably more positive weekend at the Australian Grand Prix compared to the first two races of the 2023 F1 season, Lando Norris has given an idea into where McLaren are currently struggling and “how bad” the issue is.

Norris was delighted to have finished sixth at the Albert Park Circuit last weekend, with rookie Oscar Piastri having secured a much-needed double-points finish for the Woking-based team.

Considering Norris was eliminated in Q2 and Piastri was eliminated in Q1, their points finish in Melbourne was perhaps a bit of a surprise to the British team, especially given their difficulties with straight-line speed

Norris remarkably revealed that when DRS isn’t activated the MCL60 is actually stronger amongst its competitors, but that the car becomes “so poor” as soon as opponents are within the one-second range.

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It’s due to McLaren’s poor straight-line speed that Norris and Piastri have found qualifying so difficult this season, a session that Norris usually thrives in.

“Our straight-line speed is so poor, I think not having DRS helps us,” Norris told media, including RacingNews365.com.

“It still shocks us how bad we are with DRS, and how draggy we are when we open DRS.

“We gain a few km/h, but some of the other cars are gaining 10-15km/h, and it’s a different ballpark to us.

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“So Saturdays are a big weakness for us at the minute, especially with four DRS zones [at Albert Park], it’s not in our favour in any way.

“But we understand it, and we’re working hard to try to figure out how to make it better and more efficient.”

Norris will at least gain some confidence from the fact that McLaren are set to introduce major upgrades at the coming races, something which will hopefully see them hold on to fifth in the Constructors’ Championship.

Team principal Andrea Stella shared ahead of the Australian GP that McLaren have three major upgrades which will be introduced throughout the season, meaning the MCL60 should in theory get quicker as the season develops.

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“It’ll be a while before we can improve that too much,” said Norris.

“We’re trying, but it’s difficult when it’s so tough on Saturday, it makes life harder on Sunday.

“But when you have a day like [the Australian Grand Prix], it ensures the hard work pays off.”