Lando Norris admits McLaren will only know if it has rectified its fundamental issues from 2018 once it runs next year’s car during pre-season testing.
This year’s McLaren suffered from aerodynamic problems that did not show up in the wind tunnel, making quick fixes tough to find. 2019 will be a year of change for the team with a new driver line-up of Norris and Carlos Sainz, a restructured technical department and fresh aerodynamic regulations, but Norris says the team can’t be confident it won’t have repeat issues with the car until it runs on track.
“No one knows,” Norris said. “I guess they have decent ideas of things that they’re working on, bits they’re trying to improve. All those little things which they’ve had a lot of data to say it’s better, but things can always change. Sometimes it looks good in the wind tunnel and in all the aero mapping, and then you get to the track and it does something slightly different to what you expect.
“Of course they’re confident they’re making the right changes, there’s been quite a lot of changes in the team and how they’re approaching things and approaching the work for next year and the development.
“I think they are focusing on making 100 percent sure they know things are going to be for the good — not kind of like this year and maybe not end up so good. I think they’re focusing more on making sure something is 100 percent better rather than just going, ‘Ah it looks like it’s going to be better’ and maybe putting it on, something like that. I think they have a much better understanding, but time will tell.”
While development of the 2019 car has been ongoing for some time, Norris says his own input has been limited because he was focusing on FP1 runs toward the end of this season.
“I think a lot more is going to happen over the winter. Of course a lot of the work’s already been done. I haven’t tested the car for next year yet. I’ve obviously tested little bits, and things throughout the season — of course there’s always development for this year’s car, but (there were) times when I didn’t have to do that.
“There were a couple of things I was testing for next year, but not too much. I think Rudy (van Buren), Nyck (de Vries), Ollie Turvey, I think they’ve done a lot more than I have lately, because I’ve been doing FP1s and so on for the development for next year.”