After a blistering start to the 2021 Formula 1 season, McLaren Team Principal Andreas Seidl says Lando Norris is ‘at one’ with his McLaren MCL35M.
It goes without saying that Lando Norris is ‘at one’ with his McLaren MCL35M. After increasing his performance year-to-year with the Woking-based team, Norris appears truly comfortable for the first time in his Formula 1 career.
The results he has been able to achieve with the car are nothing but impressive. Finishing in the top five in all three races so far, one of which included a podium at Imola.
Entering into his third F1 season with McLaren, the youngster certainly appears to have the edge over his older and more experienced teammate, Daniel Ricciardo. But while the Australian does have plenty of F1 knowledge under his belt, it seems Norris’ familiarity with the car is working in his favour. At least for the present time anyway.
McLaren Team Principal Andreas Seidl says it is a combination of things that have led to Norris enjoying such a successful start to 2021. Including Norris gelling not only with his car, but also the team, and the ability to control races.
“In Portugal he simply continued what we have seen from him in the first two race weekends,” Seidl said. “He’s pulling it off when it matters.
“He’s at one with the car and with the team. I think, again, he drove a brilliant race, doing great manoeuvres, and great overtaking moves also.
“He always kept his engineering team updated with the overview in order to make sure we execute the tyre strategy in the right way, and I would say he had the race under control at every second.”
What a start to the season @LandoNorris is enjoying! 💪
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 4, 2021
Is Norris a frontrunner contender?
Are McLaren at the stage where they are ready to compete with the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull for an F1 Championship? The short answer, no. While the team have enjoyed quite the resurgence over the past several seasons, including earning the best of the rest title. They do not quite have the overall car performance package that the top two teams enjoy.
That being said, while they are not yet title contenders, there’s no reason why they can’t poke their nose in and challenge from race to race. Something that Norris has proved he is already capable of doing.
Only three races into the season and with one podium finish already in the bag, it is quite reasonable to expect more of the same results scattered throughout the year.
Asked if there’s a chance that Norris keeps himself in the mix with drivers from Mercedes and Red Bull, Seidl said that “There’s always a chance.” However, things need to be kept in perspective regarding McLaren’s actual potential.
“It’s simply important that we, together with Lando, keep delivering weekend by weekend. Consistency is king, together with performance obviously, in order to out-score cars that on paper, and in reality, are definitely quicker than us.
“But if we keep delivering upgrades to the car, if Lando keeps doing what he did so far these first three races, it will end up in keeping the pressure on these guys ahead of us and then there will be opportunities to finish races in front of them.
“But, at the same time, you need to be realistic. If these guys get their act together each weekend, then we simply have to acknowledge or accept we are not there yet in terms of performance.”