Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz Jr. have one commonality and it doesn’t merely pertain to their racing team, McLaren. It’s the fact that the two young drivers are keen to score for a revered F1 stable that seems to have lost its way. Then even as with 8 points on the Constructor Standings, McLaren are tied with Haas, they know it that there’s a long way to go before the team finds its groove back.
That told, this year, of the two McLaren drivers that have impressed, there’s the young British driving talent Lando Norris. In his rookie season, Norris would want to make the most of his F1 debut season. But to that end, how easy or difficult would it be for the 19-year-old to perform in a car that doesn’t seem to be at the top of its game?
For starters, it would be a tad bit unfair to expect a Norris or Sainz to punch above their weight. Confused? Well, how easy will it be for them to do something remarkable arguably on the lines of someone like former McLaren driver Fernando Alonso, who despite driving a modestly-impressive car used to pull rabbits out of the hat every now and again?
In 2017, Alonso, in a sedate McLaren put his car on sixth on the grid at the completion of the Hungaroring contest. In so doing, the experienced hand at McLaren also set the fastest lap of the race. Remember the ‘happy holidays’ snap with Alonso resting on the chair, chilling out like a carefree lion?
He’d then manage to limp into the pits at Baku, thus pulling his McLaren toward safety inside the opening few laps at the 2018 Azerbaijan GP. What’s more? The Spaniard also drove home points-finish at Baku. It ought to be asked, which contemporary McLaren driver would’ve done outrageously impressive stuff like that?
All that told, there comes a question to the mind concerning McLaren. And this, mind you, is an outfit that’s earned 12 Constructor titles in Formula 1.
When can a possible recovery be expected from McLaren?
‘The Professor’ Prost drove for McLaren. The inimitable Senna attained peak fame driving one. The likes of Lewis, Kimi, Alonso, Button form a famous quartet among the modern icons of the sport, all of whom have registered notable drives in a McLaren.
But for a team that currently seems reinvigorated, having newly partnered with Renault for 2019 onward, what’s lies in the imminent future? Where’s this glorious side headed? While the Woking-based team grabbed 62 points in the last season, 2019 promises a lot of improvement.
And Gil de Ferran, the team’s Sporting Director had the following observations to make regarding the team and what lies ahead as he shared his thoughts on the progress made by the team and what can be expected out of it:
I think working with everyone day in and day out it feels like it has. Obviously, we are not fighting for wins at this point, but I think we have evolved a lot in our understanding of what we need to do and what we need from a Formula 1 car. This car feels like it’s a little bit of a step forward relative to last year. But we’re certainly under no illusions. We still know there is a lot of work ahead of us,” shared the bespectacled senior hand at the team.