Norris: Joining McLaren during restructuring period eased the pressure
Lando Norris drove an impressive rookie Formula 1 season with McLaren in 2019 and he believes this was in part down to the restructuring efforts within the team somewhat lessening the pressure.
Norris entered F1 with a string of titles in the junior categories to his name and, while he had missed out on the Formula 2 title to George Russell in 2018, expectations were high when he was promoted into a race seat.
The Briton had shown well in young driver tests and tyres tests, but the McLaren team he was joining was a far cry from the championship winning team of decades gone by.
This was a McLaren team in recovery mode after a tumultuous three year relationship with Honda ended on a sour note.
Partnering in Renault in 2018, results began to pick up, but Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne both left the team at the end of the season and were replaced by Norris and Carlos Sainz.
Asked if joining the team while it was in recovery mode had helped him to acclimatise to F1 at his own pace, Norris said: “I think in some ways it wasn’t terrible because I could join them with a lot less pressure than joining them if they were at the top for example where they had an ability to win races I think there would be a lot more pressure on the driver too.
“I think it was almost a nice scenario for me to join McLaren."
While competing on F2, Norris had spent plenty of time around the team, and he added: “I think that was a good thing for me that I was able to spend a lot of time with my engineers.
"Obviously learning from Stoffel and Fernando at the time to try and develop myself in the best way possible for when the package would become better like last year and this year.
“It was nice for me and good for me that I think I was able to focus on myself a bit more than coming here and having a lot more pressure on, even though there is a lot of pressure on driving at McLaren."
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