Lando Norris has underscored the dismal straight-line speed of McLaren’s MCL60, even with the help of DRS, which is proving a massive setback, especially on Saturdays for team papaya.
McLaren scored its first points of 2023 in Australia, with Norris and teammate Oscar Piastri steering clear of the mayhem in Melbourne to clock in respectively P7 and P9 at the end of the eventful day.
From the outset, McLaren’s drivers have struggled with the performance of their car mainly due to the MCL60’s lack of aerodynamic efficiency.
And the design’s excessive drag, even when DRS is open, is logically impacting the machine’s maximum velocity.
“Our straight-line speed is so poor, I think not having DRS helps us,” Norris explained in Melbourne.
“It still shocks us how bad we are with DRS, and how draggy we are when we open DRS.
“We gain a few km/h, but some of the other cars are gaining 10-15km/h, and it’s a different ballpark to us.
“So, Saturdays are a big weakness for us at the minute, especially with four DRS zones [at Albert Park], it’s not in our favour in any way.
“But we understand it, and we’re working hard to try to figure out how to make it better and more efficient.”
Norris: Melbourne chaos caused by ‘terrible’ Pirelli tyres
The Woking-based outfit will be working hard during this month’s three-week break to ready a raft of updates for its car, some of which will be introduced in time for the next round of racing in Azerbaijan while a B-spec car is expected to hit the track by mid-summer.
But Norris isn’t expected a significant step forward in the short-term.
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“It’ll be a while before we can improve that too much,” said the Briton. “We’re trying, but it’s difficult when it’s so tough on Saturday, it makes life harder on Sunday.
“But when you have a day like [the Australian Grand Prix], it ensures the hard work pays off.”
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