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Norris and McLaren see silver lining in Bahrain despite setbacks



Norris and McLaren see silver lining in Bahrain despite setbacks F1 2023 Bahrain

McLaren encounters technical issues in F1 season opener, but Norris optimistic for future points-scoring opportunities. McLaren plagued by technical issues in F1 season opener, but eyes points in upcoming races.

McLaren’s failure to score any points in the opening race of the Formula 1 season was due to a combination of a wiring malfunction and a pneumatic leak, leading to a disappointing outcome in what was initially a more promising Bahrain Grand Prix.

During his debut F1 race, Oscar Piastri encountered a technical issue with his vehicle’s electronics, which disrupted his gear shifts and eventually led to a complete shutdown of the car. Despite attempts to resolve the issue by replacing the steering wheel, the problem persisted, forcing Piastri out of the race after only 13 laps.

As for Lando Norris, he struggled with a separate issue that began early on in the race and necessitated frequent pneumatic refills, ultimately causing him to fall two laps behind.

McLaren’s team principal, Andrea Stella, explained that the steering wheel replacement failed to address the problem because the electronic damage extended beyond the steering column and likely involved the wiring harness. The team is still investigating the issue, which was not reparable within a brief timeframe.

Norris and McLaren see silver lining in Bahrain despite setbacks

Regarding Norris’ car, Stella disclosed that they identified a pneumatic pressure leak early on in the race.

“We knew that we could only complete around 10 to 11 laps before requiring another pneumatic refill,” Stella added. “Despite this challenge, we made the decision to continue with the race and attempted to remain within one lap of the leader during the final 10 laps. We were also hoping for the possibility of a safety car situation, which could have presented an opportunity for us.”


However, the frequent pneumatic refills resulted in McLaren making a total of six pit stops during the race, which Norris joked about being the only positive outcome of the event. Despite a good start that placed him in the top 10, he believed that his race began to deteriorate from the first corner.

Both Norris and his team boss acknowledged that the technical issue had significantly impacted what could have been a stronger race for McLaren. The team had been cautious about their expectations for the MCL60 since it was based on an old development direction that was abandoned towards the end of last year.

McLaren is anticipating a much-improved design to be introduced at the fourth race of the season in Azerbaijan, with additional upgrades expected in Saudi Arabia and Australia before then.

The team had initially expected to be placed in the lower half of the midfield, which was affirmed by Piastri’s Q1 elimination in Bahrain and Norris narrowly making it to Q2.

Norris and McLaren see silver lining in Bahrain despite setbacks

Despite this, Norris managed to qualify 11th, leading McLaren to believe that both he and Piastri would have been in contention for scoring points based on their race pace.

Stella believes that this reflects the success of the team’s efforts over the winter to enhance how the chassis works with the tires, even with the launch version of the car.

Stella expressed that the race was more encouraging than the team had anticipated. The team had initially expected it to be difficult to secure a Q3 position and earn points before the race.


Despite the initial expectations, Stella noted that it became evident during the race that earning points was more feasible than the team had anticipated. However, Stella also acknowledged that the midfield has become even more competitive this season, with teams such as Aston Martin and Ferrari closing in on them. Additionally, without the safety car, it is uncertain whether anyone would have been able to complete the race without encountering any difficulties and possibly finishing a lap down.

Stella is optimistic that McLaren can compete well and potentially earn points in upcoming races, especially if they can improve the car’s performance by a few tenths as planned.

Norris shares this sentiment and believes that McLaren can target scoring points in both Saudi Arabia and Australia, which strengthens his confidence in what the team can achieve with a better-performing car later in the year.

“We had the potential to score points today,” Norris stated on Sunday evening in Bahrain.

Norris emphasized that McLaren’s performance was better than what many had predicted before the season, as well as prior to the test and the race in Bahrain.

He firmly believes that the team had the ability to score points in the race, and is determined to achieve that goal in the upcoming races. “It’s as simple as that, and that’s what we’ll strive for in the next race,” Norris said.

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