The alarms are ringing in Woking. McLaren has started the year badly and has a difficult task ahead. The car’s brake problems are just the tip of the iceberg and the MCL36, which looked so promising, has no argument to move forward. Lando Norris, in statements to Sky Sports, explained the problem the team is currently facing.
“At times the balance of the car can be relatively decent, but we ended up being slower than the others. And that’s simply because we don’t have enough aerodynamic support, either on the front axle or on the rear axle. There are things we can adapt and change in the car, to try to make it work better, but the solution is not that simple. We have to look at the philosophy of the car and understand how we can improve it. And it’s not easy to do from week to week. We have to understand the car, the differences, what works, what doesn’t and try to optimize the package we have at the moment. We have ideas for that, to try to understand the car better, how to find the right set-up and we will test that on Friday. We’re not going to try to get good lap times, but try to understand the car better and see if we missed anything, or test areas that haven’t been tested yet due to lack of miles in the Bahrain test. I don’t think we can use the excuse of the brakes anymore, we have to admit that the car is not fast enough, that it does not have enough grip, that it does not have enough support and that’s where you have to focus for the moment.”
This justifies the problems encountered by the team last weekend. McLaren didn’t have a good enough race pace, even taking into account that the brakes might not be at 100 per cent. The glaring difference would have to be justified by something else, and Norris explained it simply. The car lacks aerodynamic support and the MCL36, which was so well received at testing in Barcelona, still has a long way to go to be competitive.