Season 2019 was plenty of fresh faces, as the top 3 drivers in Formula 2 championship last year made their way to the Circus. Lando Norris, second in 2018 behind George Russell, had the biggest chance as he took a fastly growing team: McLaren is having a profound restructuring of the racing department that's leading to new competitiveness. The young British driver is having a blast in his rookie season, and only two reliability issues prevented him to have big results in Canada and France.
Speaking to the media ahead of the Austrian GP, Norris made a clear statement about his target: "I'm trying to be in front of the midfield teams consistently. I think as a team we are learning to work together, improving very well in the car. It is a fresh start for McLaren with new drivers, new personnel. In Australia we didn’t know what to expect. We had a clear improvement from last year, we are more concentrate and working more on the right areas. Of course last weekend, as well as in Montreal, I could have scored more points. Two failures on the car are not the maximum, cause the weekends were going extremely well. It can happen and we have to move on."
In the last couple of races the MCL34 seemed closer to the top 6. Would it be possible for McLaren to match Red Bull? "Maybe on some places, maybe Monza. On average we are getting a little bit closer but we are still a long way before. In qualifying I matched Gasly a couple of time this season but their car is much fasters in corners, in race pace. Anyway some track will be better than others", said Norris.
Lando also spoke about his rookie cautiosness at the start of the races: "At this point of the season I'd rather finish races. I will take the risk if necessary but I want take points. In turn 1 is very easy to lock up, maybe later this season I will trying more on starts as I will have more experience. But now I just want to finish races, learn more things doing that and not taking damages on my front wing."
He also seems to have some good tips to get entertainment back in Formula 1. "People have different opinions on GPDA, for example in taking out the chicane in Paul Ricard. But it would have been just a massive DRS zone, with an even boring race, without that last lap fight. We want to race other guys as long as possible, not just waiting tyres to drop off to pass on long straights. We want fights side by side, brake late on corners. We want to improve."