McLaren CEO Zak Brown has admitted that Lando Norris’ criticism of the MCL60 is “motivating” rather than disappointing, with it playing a part in the team’s development.
Whilst McLaren’s fortunes have changed drastically since the Austrian Grand Prix, Norris and continued to complain about the car.
Based on the start of the season which the Woking-based team experienced, the British driver’s criticism is understandable.
Prior to Austria, McLaren were often sixth or seventh in the pecking order; however, that’s all changed.
Since introducing a large upgrades package at the Red Bull Ring, McLaren have looked like a different team.
The British outfit have been second or third in the pecking order at the last four races, where Norris and Oscar Piastri have been quick.
Norris has finished in the top five in the last four races, a period in which he’s also claimed two P2 finishes.
Piastri has also shown great speed and has finished in the top five in two of the last three races.
The rookie also finished second in the Belgian Grand Prix sprint, an event he led before being overtaken by Max Verstappen.
The MCL60 does clearly have some performance then, but Norris is adamant that it’s still a “poor car”.
“We do have a poor car and I would say pretty terrible in the slow-speed corners, extremely difficult to drive,” said Norris to Motorsport.com.
“I feel as if we’re getting excited and I accept that, but we’re going to go to a couple of tracks coming up where I’m sure people are going to be saying: ‘What have you done now? Like, how has it got so bad all of a sudden?’”
Brown seemingly doesn’t mind too much that Norris is continuing to speak negatively about the car, with the American insisting that the British driver’s comments feed McLaren with motivation to make the MCL60 better.
He insists that the team have “handled” the criticism “really well” and are making great strides with the car.
“We kind of get happy together, we get grumpy together. So, if he’s made a comment, it’s consistent, it’s motivating,” Brown said.
“We don’t get down, we fight hard. I mean, if you look at how poor start the season was, that was hard.
“Meanwhile, underneath the surface we knew we were seeing great development in the wind tunnel, so it was like publicly taking a battering at the start of the year while knowing underneath things were actually going really well.
“And the team handled it really well, so we’re motivated.”