Lando Norris will receive a significant upgrade on McLaren’s MCL60 for the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, the biggest since the team’s game-changing upgrade introduced in Austria.
The major McLaren upgrade for the Singapore Grand Prix at Marina Bay is only going to benefit Norris as McLaren ran out of sufficient time to prepare a second full upgrade package for Oscar Piastri.
The Australian driver’s car will still receive a number of new components before being brought up to date in time for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka next week.
Norris stated that this year’s McLaren MCL60’s weaknesses at low speeds is the main reason for the adjustments.
“Probably since Austria, it is the thing that we believe will kind of help us move forward the most since then,” said the Briton as he described the extent of the McLaren upgrade.
“Obviously, we’ve not run it on the track yet and so we don’t want to say too much until we’ve actually got it to work properly but it’s a good step.
“The team have worked hard to get it on one of the cars here, and then we’ll have the rest in Japan too. So it is an exciting couple of weekends for us.”
McLaren immediately felt the impact of its Austrian upgrade as the cars demonstrated improved performance. According to Norris, the rapid achievement has boosted McLaren’s confidence that its most recent package will similarly result to significant progress.
“Sometimes we would put stuff on and it’s not really delivered to what we wanted or what it should have done,” he said. “But definitely up to Austria and how much we kind of progressed since then, it gives me more hope.
“It’s also a bit more slower speed biased, which is a bit different to what we had in Austria.
“This is our first time we’ve been able to really try to target that a bit more.”
Throughout the summer, despite a number of standout performances, including two first-row starts, Norris has frequently expressed his frustration with the challenges he faces when operating the McLaren contender.
However, Norris believes that the most recent upgrade to the car will not make it any easier to handle.
“I think it’s not going to help in exactly the places where, from a driving style point of view,” He added. “I would probably want it, but it should just help with a little bit of overall loads, cornering speeds and just kind of consistency, tyre wear traction, things like that.
“It is just performance enhancement, it’s not like something to make me feel better in the car.”
Even at this point the 23-year-old claims that closing the gap between McLaren and Red Bull will require him as well to become more at ease behind the wheel and to completely get rid of the MCL60’s vulnerability in slow-speed turns.
“It’s down to the same things every time, where we just can’t change with a bit of aero balance or mechanical balance,” Norris said.
“No matter what we try we are bad and we struggle, so I think those things let us down in quite a few races. And even at some places we go to, we’re extremely competitive on 90% of the track, it’s just certain things which then make us look bad.
“If we didn’t have some of these bad things, we would be very strong and a lot more competitive and competing for podiums.
“If we can fix a little bit of this slow speed [weakness], if I can get a bit more what I believe the car needs to take that next step.
“A bit of it is what we hopefully will have this weekend, a bit of it will be what I want from a driving style point of view.
“That’s when I’m confident we can take the fight to the majority of the teams, including Red Bull.”