McLaren had a productive three days at the pre-season test in Bahrain, clocking up a total of 328 laps between Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. Norris, who remains with the team for a third consecutive season, has been able to provide McLaren with useful feedback from the switch to Mercedes power units after two years of running Renault engines.
Speaking about the new MCL35M after the final day of testing, Norris praised the team's efforts and said the new car is starting from a great baseline.
"I think it's a very good car to start off with. From the first lap we managed to do, I think we felt very confident in it and that we can push on it a lot," Norris told RacingNews365.com and other members of the media.
"I think trying to unlock that final extra bit that you really need from qualifying in Q1, Q2, Q3; I think we've still got to just kind of sit down and go through everything from the last few days."
More pace still to come
Norris' best time of the test was a 1:30.586, set on the C4 tyre on Day 2, which only placed him fourteenth fastest overall from the three days. But the McLaren driver says that he never put in a full-blooded lap, electing to run the C3 compound when most of the headline times were set on the final day.
"We haven't gone low fuel and full beans, you know, you don't show everything," explained Norris. "[We've] a lot of sensors on the car and everything like that. So no one shows everything. You don't really get to know exactly what the cars gonna do when you get there."
"But, I think, in terms of going out and just feeling like you can push the car to a good limit and within a reasonable pace, I think I'm very happy. It's one of the good things that we've come out and, from day one, we've managed to do that. I think that's a good achievement for us as a as a team, and not any big problems - touchwood."
While Norris is delighted with McLaren's overall level of performance and driveability following the test, he said that there's still quite a bit of work to do back in Woking to unlock a few more tenths of a second.
"I think we have to understand the car a little bit more, how to set it up perfectly and put in the right aero characteristic with these changes - the new floor and so on," Norris said.
"And we have to sit down and really get our heads together to understand how to extract those last two, three tenths that we're going to need in a couple of weeks time. I think we've still got a bit of work to do to unlock that final part and know how to put it all together. But, for a car that you can just put down on the ground and drive out the garage, it's pretty good. I think we're in a good place. But we definitely have work to do."