Lando Norris makes candid admission on ‘whole new engine’ on McLaren

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McLaren driver Lando Norris has made the candid admission that his car required a ‘whole new engine’ after abandoning the Bahrain Grand Prix. The 23-year-old is in his fifth season with the constructor during which he has clinched six podium positions.

However, the McLaren driver was left dejected after his MCL60 car suffered a pneumatic pressure engine leak on the opening lap of the first race of 2023. The British star made six pit stops throughout the race to allow mechanics to fix the car before eventually retiring with just two laps remaining.

Afterwards Norris said: “I think the best thing is the mechanics did a lot of pit stop practices. That’s the biggest positive.” Norris had a chance of gaining some points in Bahrain qualifying 11th fastest before his mechanical ended any hopes of opening his account for the season.

He added: “Good start, good launch, made up a few positions and then we had problems from turn one basically – pneumatic problems and various other issues. That just brought out us of the race more and more, we had to pit every ten laps and that was it.”

Ahead of qualifying at this weekend’s Saudi Arabia Grand Prix the British driver revealed the extent of the damage. He told Racingnews365: “I took a whole new engine, because the other one’s finished already.”

Norris has avoided a grid penalty for his engine change but has reduced his options for the next 22 rounds of the F1 calendar. During the extended season drivers permitted to use only three internal combustion engines, turbochargers, MGU-H and MGU-K units as well as eight exhausts.

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Norris will again be within the fight for points at the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, but hinted that rival teams have made bigger improvements than McLaren in the off-season. He added: “Alpine are up the road on the whole midfield, so they’ve vaulted to the front, and even Williams seem a lot quicker than us too.

“It feels alright, to be honest, the car. Struggling quite a bit with overall balance, but just doing the best with what we’ve got.” After four seasons with McLaren Norris has raised fears he could be tempted to walk away from the team when his contract ends due to the car’s lack of competitiveness and has been linked with a move to Red Bull.

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