2021 McLaren F1 Car More Suited to Daniel Ricciardo’s Driving Style: Lando Norris

Published 04/03/2021, 10:13 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Pre-Season Testing – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 14, 2021 McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo in action during testing REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed


McLaren underwent wholesome changes this previous winter. Not only did they make a statement by signing Daniel Ricciardo, but they also made critical improvements to their F1 car. And if we are to believe the words of Lando Norris, they are going to benefit the Australian.

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While the FIA froze 50% of the chassis, they did ask the teams to make changes to the rear of the car; particularly, the floor and the diffuser to reduce aerodynamic prowess by 10% and thereby, speed. Luckily for McLaren, they nailed it, with their diffuser concept garnering significant praises.

HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY – Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren F1 walks in the Paddock during qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Germany at Hockenheimring in Hockenheim, Germany. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Lando Norris is now the only driver who’s driven both the MCL35 and this season’s updated MCL35. So, he is in a good position to tell the difference in characteristics between the two pieces of machinery. And he’s made a rather interesting observation.

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“Although Daniel is new to the car there are some differences with the car this year and how you have to drive it. At points his driving style is better for it and is more suited for it.

“How we’ve had to drive the car the last two seasons is kind of going away in a good way. That’s something I need to adjust to a little bit because the car is different this year.”

Norris looked at the data of Daniel Ricciardo to improve his race pace

Ricciardo out-qualified Norris during the season-opener in Bahrain. However, the young Brit pipped his more-experienced Aussie teammate on Sunday to finish P4.

This is a far cry from his battles with Carlos Sainz. While he beat the Spaniard head-to-head in qualifying over their two seasons together, Sainz ultimately outshone him during the race and scored more points for the team.

So, how has he managed to turn around his weakness?

He’s been looking at Ricciardo’s data. The former Red Bull driver’s racecraft is almost second to none. But he is also looking at other ways to improve his race pace.

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN – MARCH 12: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and McLaren F1 and Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren F1 look on from the grid during Day One of F1 Testing at Bahrain International Circuit on March 12, 2021 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Joe Portlock/Getty Images)

“Not just how to learn from Daniel because I don’t think that’s the point of it, but still focusing on myself in terms of race pace, an area which wasn’t very good a couple of years ago,” said Norris.

It’s way too early and speculative to say, but we hope that this does not cause friction inside the team. If things don’t go his way this season, there’s a small possibility that we may see him accusing McLaren of favoritism towards Ricciardo.

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DIVE DEEPER

F1 Pundit Believes Daniel Ricciardo Has a Mercedes/Red Bull Exit Clause in McLaren Contract

about 2 months ago

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Bharat Aggarwal

705 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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