Formula 1 Racing

Miami F1 track layout and tyres make it hard to judge McLaren updates

Lando Norris, McLaren F1 Team

McLaren elected to bring a hefty revamp to its MCL38 for this weekend’s Miami race, which featured an overhaul of a number of aerodynamic surfaces aimed at helping lift the overall downforce of the car.

But despite some promising flashes of speed throughout the weekend, McLaren has struggled to show its true potential and deliver a standout result.

Lando Norris, who is the only driver to have the full package of components onboard, had a messy lap in sprint qualifying to only end up ninth before he was pitched out of the race at the first corner.

In grand prix qualifying, Norris ended up fifth behind Red Bull and Ferrari after not being able to get everything he wanted out of the softs – and even trying mediums at one point.

But on a weekend where tyre temperature management has been critical to performance, Norris thinks it has been almost impossible to judge how much better the upgrade package has been.

And he thinks things have also not been helped by the fact that the layout of the Miami circuit is not one that plays well to the areas where the changes are supposed to bring the greatest gains.

“It’s good, it’s working as expected but I think it’s not the track which is going to show all of it,” he said.

Lando Norris, McLaren F1 Team

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

“Hopefully in Imola or something, we can see a bit more of the potential of the car. But it’s a step in the right direction, that team has done a very good job to get everything up and ready.”

Norris thinks that it may take two or three more races to get a proper judgement on where McLaren’s new package has really lifted the team.

“I think you can never judge it on one session and one track,” he explained. “You have to see it on high downforce, low downforce and everything. People are too quick to judge everything from one weekend or one day or whatever.

“I think everyone just needs to be a bit more patient with everything and see what it’s like over two weekends, three weekends before you start to judge.

“We have our answers of it’s working, but to know the true extent of it and how well it performs in all different areas, that’s when you have to wait over three races rather than just making a conclusion in one.”

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