The Bahrain Grand Prix weekend proved one to forget for everyone connected with McLaren, but it sounds as though there are more struggles ahead for the team going off of Lando Norris‘ honest assessment of the situation post-race.
The 2022 Formula 1 season kicked off in fine style on Sunday as Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz underlined Ferrari’s off-season progress emphatically with a one-two finish – though that was slightly aided by Max Verstappen retiring from P2.
It was a sign that the new regulations have shaken up the pecking order, though, and McLaren had naturally hoped that they were going to benefit in similar style to the Scuderia.
However, with new rules comes the chance that things can go wrong and, at this early stage, the English team have got a lot of work on to close the gap, with both Norris and Daniel Ricciardo starting and finishing the race well outside of the top ten and never really looking close.
It appears, too, that things will not be solved quickly with Norris saying “everyone needs to know there’s probably going to be a bit of pain,” in the coming weeks after the chequered flag.
“It’s just where we are, quite simply,” Norris said.
“We just have to get a little bit used to it now. Of course over the last few seasons, [there has been] just a lot of expectation from us within the team, and also everyone else watching and so on.
“We just haven’t got it right at the minute. We’re a long, long way off – not just a little bit, we’re a long way. We’ve got to start fresh and figure some things out.
“I’m just trying to find solutions, and solutions doesn’t mean next week we’re going to be amazing.
“But in months to come we need to understand what’s going on here and how to get better.
“We’ve been in this position a few years ago.
“I’m hoping we can remain more optimistic that the team and everyone back at MTC can figure things out and we can get back on track.
“We’re a long way down on downforce, the handling therefore is very poor.
“It’s a tricky car and tricky tyres to optimise, and when you just don’t have the downforce, you just can’t get the tyres working well and you just can’t get everything in a good window.
“You’re understeering, you’re oversteering, there’s just a lot more things going on. I think that’s the problem. We just need less things to be going on.
“[We] need more rear, more front, it’s just downforce really – it so sounds simple but it’s obviously complicated to figure out.”
F1 betting this season might be as interesting as ever purely because in the new Era we don’t know what to expect!