Lando Norris believes McLaren will struggle at the start of the 2023 F1 season after a poor showing during pre-season test, but hinted that their planned upgrades could turn the season around.
There are 28 days between the third and fourth races of the 2023 F1 season, owing to the cancellation of the Chinese Grand Prix. This gives the teams some rare opportunity in a packed calendar to analyse data and prepare effective updates, which is what McLaren plans to do.
Despite the need for an update, the progression of the MCL60 is where the team expects it to be given the circumstances.
“What they want to be happening in Baku is what we’re wanting to start the season with.” Norris told reporters.
“If you want to be a top team you know it is where we should have started the season, with those kind of parts to come in.
“But until then, we’ll just do the best we can, to make the most of what we have now.”
McLaren towards back of grid
The disappointing testing performance highlighted the chasm between McLaren and the rest of the F1 field, with some predicting that the Woking team could be as low as ninth slowest on the grid.
The Brit remains optimistic that McLaren can recover to finish as the fourth best car.
“We want to end as a top four team” Norris continued. “I think that will give us a big big boost of confidence to go into 2024, when we will have the car set up in the new wind tunnel.”
McLaren also began 2021 on the back foot, with both cars qualifying no higher than 13th and finishing no higher than 14th – despite three retirements in the race.
Norris went on to score 122 points last season, including taking the only podium to be scored outside of front three teams, proving McLaren can recover from a similar situation.