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Norris Battles Confidence Dip Amid F1 Struggles

Norris Navigates F1’s New Tides: A Quest for Adaptation

05/04/2024

Facing a tough phase, Lando Norris discusses his decreased confidence and the challenge of adapting to new F1 cars and conditions.

Lando Norris finds himself struggling to feel as confident as he once did. The McLaren F1 driver shares that after a challenging year in 2022, coupled with cars that are less comfortable, he is unable to push the boundaries during fast laps in qualifying.

“In qualifying, I’ve always aimed to push a bit further in certain areas and always sought to be aggressive. And now, I find myself doing the exact opposite. It’s challenging to navigate because I aim to reach another level in qualifying, and it’s not feasible with these tires and our car,” Norris stated.

“It’s almost like driving in reverse. So, there’s something about being accustomed to the cars from a few years back that’s somewhat penalizing me now and causing me to not adapt quickly enough. But, it’s up to me.”

“It’s on me to adapt and perform better, but also due to our car’s nature and how you need to drive it, it continues to be a tricky car to handle. Pulling off a perfect qualifying lap every time isn’t easy. However, it’s something we’re working on.”

The British driver admits struggling to adapt to the new Formula 1 cars, especially in slow corners, despite excelling in a lap with the older cars: “If you ask me now how to handle a slow-speed turn, I have no idea.”

“I truly have no idea. One day it’s like this, the next it’s something else. I find it hard to gain the necessary confidence to know exactly how to improve in all scenarios. When it clicks, I can do well in qualifying.”

“But yes, over the past two years, I’ve lost some of that sensation of being in qualifications, of being aggressive, and of doing the laps I want to do. It’s tough not to push and be aggressive when you’re competitive and want to perform better.”

 Norris Navigates F1's New Tides A Quest for Adaptation

These conditions “change the ability to be aggressive.”

Norris confirms he’s unable to push to his limit on a fast lap due to mistakes, or feels the need to stay slightly below the limit. He notes being more sensitive to conditions than before but regained some confidence in Melbourne.

“It’s like I can’t drive at 100%. The 100% works one lap out of 10. So, when you aim for Q3 and your best lap, you might find yourself needing to dial it back to 98% all of a sudden.”

“It’s complex, and pushing to the limit is challenging. A few kilometers per hour wind change, or tires being slightly hotter or cooler, affects your ability to be aggressive in each turn.”

“You have to consider all this. ‘The wind shifted a bit, so I need to brake a meter earlier,’ and you have to do it. And mastering this consistently is not easy.”

“It’s something I’m working on, something I’ve improved a bit over the last two weeks. Last weekend was a bit more of an indication, the first sign of what we can do when it clicks.”

“It was easy to find the limit” with the 2021 F1 cars

Norris explains why the simulator isn’t helpful in regaining a sense of calm behind the wheel: “It’s tough because the correlation isn’t always there. There are certain techniques and abilities to try to drive in a relaxed manner.”

“That’s the kind of thing you can do in the simulator. But recreating that exact feeling when you’re in the car and doing a qualifying lap isn’t easy to replicate on a simulator.”

Only practice will help the McLaren driver overcome this issue: “It’s a bit of trial and error, trying to make it a normality. The fact is, when I drive, I do so much unconsciously that the less I think about driving, the better I drive.”

“If I just go out and look at the stands, that’s usually when I do my best work. But I naturally just go out and push. So, when you need to try and change your subconscious and try to relax, it’s not easy to change.”

“It’s something that develops over the years. And it’s not easy to go back. I’ve moved away from that mindset over the past year: with the older regulations, it was easier to drive and find the limit.”

“Every day is a new day, there are always new challenges and problems. But that’s part of life, it’s the same for everyone. I just think our car has sometimes been difficult to drive. But my job as a driver is to do my best to adapt to the situation.”

Norris Battles Confidence Dip Amid F1 Struggles. Norris Battles Confidence Dip Amid F1 Struggles. f1 2024 Norris Battles Confidence Dip Amid F1 Struggles

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