Lando Norris is very much the man of the moment after his ‘so close but so far’ performance at the Russian Grand Prix. Now, he has hit the headlines again after saying that based on his early impression from the McLaren simulator, the 2022 cars are ‘not as nice’ to drive as this year’s model.
In 2021, there are still seven races of the season left before F1 hits a figurative reset button and Lando Norris has reflected on the lessons he has learnt following his heartbreaking Russian Grand Prix. The key thing being that experiencing such pain so early in his F1 career will only help him in the future.
“It’s not just something people say, it definitely is true [that tough experiences make you stronger],” said Norris. “You do learn probably more from the hard moments. You always learn things. Even if you win a race, you can learn things.”
Lando Norris’ recent exploits have seen a lot more people learn his name. This was extended further following his recent appearance on the UK’s number one daytime television show This Morning last Monday. When Formula One gains mainstream attention like this it can only benefit the sport as well as the racer who found himself on Monday labelled by host Phillip Schofield as ‘The next Lewis Hamilton’.
Lando Norris was asked what he does after races to which he responded: ‘After the last one, crying.’ But this remark was done so with a smile, a smile which shall take him to the hearts of viewers he would not normally come across. As such, his recent raise in profile has also resulted in a lot more people taking notice of what Norris has to say.
Following his simulator work, Lando Norris has decided that the 2022 cars are ‘not as nice’ to drive as the current F1 machinery on this year’s grid.
Such a comment should not come as a surprise seeing how the 2022 rules see a return to ground effect cars. All of this is designed in the hope that competitors will be able to battle closer to one another as opposed to always being hindered by travelling in the dirty air. Such changes though also mean that there will be a large reduction in downforce not to mention new tyres to get to grips with.
Motorsport.com interviewed Lando Norris on this matter during the Italian based launch of Norris’ new self-named LN Racing Kart.
"It's a very different car to drive. In a way not as nice as this season.” Norris explained. "But I think hopefully that's the same case with every other team as well. And we'll see, there's no point trying to think it's amazing or terrible. You just have to do the best job you can and hopefully, next season, we go to the pre-season test with a good car."
Norris’ impression of the car has been limited to the simulator as McLaren is yet to reach the developmental stage of their 2022 challenger.
"The only car we've seen is the one at Silverstone," said Norris. "The car we have in the factory, it's not even a car. It's a drawing and some paper. I don't think we will see it for many more months, maybe not until next year in a way. We've seen some of the drawings and the designs for next season, but every week, it's something new and something different, because there's so many different things with the car. But every week it's very easy to make changes and make it quicker and quicker."
In May this year, McLaren Racing renewed Lando Norris on a multi-year contract. The Woking-based team was keen to keep other teams at bay and ensure they retained the services of Norris who has been part of the McLaren family in some form since early-2017.
Speaking on This Morning, Norris showed he is still fully focused on 2021. The young racer also showed he will be ready if another opportunity for victory comes along following the lessons learnt in Russia.
“I want to say I shall have a long career ahead of me, I hope, so it’s nice to get it out the way early in my career so that when these kinds of things come up next time, I’ll be able to make better decisions.” Norris stated.
“Turkey was a tough one last season…but there’s a lot of expectation on us as well. At Monza we had a 1’2 and last weekend I had pole position and almost won the race. So, a lot of people are expecting the same thing but we have to limit it in a way because we are not as quick as Mercedes and Red Bull…every race is an opportunity for us.”
To host Phillip Schofield’s final quip of ‘just get the tyres right eh?’ Norris instantly responded ‘exactly, circle tyres.’ Which left his interviewers in hysterics as he beamed what will surely become a million-dollar marketing smile.
Lando Norris may feel that the 2022 cars are not as nice to drive but one thing is certain, in 2022, there will many more people watching him doing the driving.