Lando Norris and McLaren now playing catch up with huge Baku upgrade package

The British manufacturer were on the back foot in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia

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Lando Norris has revealed that McLaren now have the Formula 1 car they were supposed to have at the start of 2023 with big upgrades coming to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

McLaren left the Middle East pointless after two races in Sakhir and Jeddah but recovered their slow start with sixth and eighth in Australia. That catapulted Norris into the top 10 of the drivers’ standings despite obvious flaws with the MCL60.

The car has been too draggy all season causing them to struggle to overtake cars in the race but Norris is confident that the new parts will negate those problems.

“I don’t want to get ahead of myself,” Norris told the media ahead of the 2023 Azerbaijan GP. “Australia was definitely a better weekend for us but things did go our way a little bit.

“Before we had been really unlucky and that made things look worse than they were in the first two races.

“What we have now is what we should have started the year with but everyone else has upgrades too. Our job is to try and bring bigger things to catch up.”

Extra engine delight

The F1 commission opted to give every team and driver an extra power unit to try and minimise the number of grid penalties throughout the season which could benefit Norris.

The Brit has already lost one of his Mercedes power units to the scrapyard after a persistent problem in Bahrain which the team opted to keep on running in order to gain more testing data in the grand prix.

Norris is happy to have the impending doom of a penalty lifted for the time being but he still expects to need a further engine to make it all the way to the end of the 23-race season.

“I needed it,” Norris said. “I lost my first engine in round one so it’s a nice thing for me even though I’m still at a disadvantage but I’m happy with it.”

Joe Ellis
Joe Ellis
Joe Ellis is a motorsport journalist with experience working in BTCC. He is the resident IndyCar correspondent for Total-Motorsport.com and a top class F1 writer.
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