McLaren believe the United States Grand Prix will be an "interesting challenge" for Formula 1 teams as they grapple with car set-ups at Austin.
The series heads to the Circuit of the Americas this weekend with McLaren having slipped back to fifth in the Constructors' having only picked up one point at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Rivals for fourth Alpine had a bumper haul at Suzuka, coming away with 19 points to move onto 143 with McLaren now 13 behind on 130.
High-speed, twisty circuits such as COTA have typically been Alpine's strength this year compared to McLaren but boss Andreas Seidl is still optimistic for a good result.
Austin provides tricky technical challenge
Austin features a high-speed twisty blast through Sector 1 - akin to Suzuka's own first sector or the Maggots/Beckets section at Silverstone - before a tight hairpin and long, DRS-assisted back-straight.
Therefore, striking the right balance to find enough downforce through Sector 1 but then not being overly draggy but still taking care of the tyres for the final sector is vital.
"The track has some interesting features, such as elevation changes and wide turns with multiple overtaking lines," explained Seidl.
"It will be important to balance the set-up between some of the corners and the speed needed for the straights.
"The United States Grand Prix is a favourite for many in the team, so we are all looking forward to the weekend - and giving Alex Palou an outing in the MCL36.
"It will be helpful to get to his feedback and support with setting up the car before Daniel is back in for FP2.
"We need to push as hard as we can to get fourth back in the Constructors' Championship."
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What do the drivers say?
Ricciardo - who has embraced everything Austin - finished a strong fifth 12 months ago, and took two third places at COTA back in his Red Bull days in 2014 and '16, while Norris has finished both of his US Grands Prix in the points.
"I’m buzzing to be back in Austin, it's such a great city to race in and the fans are always brilliant so it should be an exciting weekend," explained Norris.
"The track is a fun one, with some cool features similar to tracks such as Suzuka so I’m looking forward to getting out there and seeing how the new regulation cars run.
"I've had points finishes both times I’ve raced there, so hopefully we can keep up the streak and get some valuable points in the Constructors’ Championship."
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