Lando Norris says McLaren knew they would be in for a tough start to the Formula 1 2023 season during the winter break.
Their Bahrain Grand Prix was fraught with reliability problems, with Norris having to pit every 10 laps due to a pneumatic issue and Oscar Piastri retiring with electrical problems.
Norris says the team knew what kind of car they were going to have to develop, after they admitted they missed their targets during pre-season testing.
"We knew exactly the car we were going to have, how much downforce we're finding and so on," he told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"So you always have a reasonable understanding on where your own car is going to be, you just don't know what everyone else is going to do and how much they are going to find."
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Norris optimistic about start
After the race, Team Principal Andrea Stella said he was still encouraged by the pace briefly shown by Norris, adding that the Briton could have been a contender for points.
Norris says the team are on course for a better start than last year, when they also finished outside the top 10 at Bahrain and were scraping the lower points positions at subsequent races.
"I think we'll still have a better start to the season than where we were last year. I think that's a step in the right direction, but we're not happy," he explained.
"We're the fifth-best, sixth-best, seventh-best team or whatever, and we want to be the team taking steps forward and definitely not in any way taking some back.
"I guess it's always going to be a hard season until you get to the top."