Lando Norris has warned that McLaren may be forced to go down a different path to find a fix for their struggling MCL36 car.
Norris, along with teammate Daniel Ricciardo, finished outside the points at the curtain-raising Bahrain Grand Prix, despite their pre-season shakedown in Barcelona offering plenty of promise.
McLaren's time in Bahrain proved something of a disaster, with their car lacking pace as they lost ground on their rivals – Haas, Alfa Romeo and Alpine all building an early lead in the Constructors' standings.
They were not the only Mercedes-powered team to struggle during the opening weekend, with Williams and Aston Martin also seeing both of their cars finish outside the points, but Norris noted that Mercedes themselves managed to score a podium.
Norris: Maybe we need to try something different
Norris admitted in Bahrain that he may need to get used to fighting at the back of the grid until the team find a cure for their problems.
He will be hoping that McLaren's Technical Director, James Key, formerly of Jordan, Williams, Force India and Sauber, will have a plan in place to address their lack of performance and return them to the front of the midfield fight.
"I think it might be our philosophy; it could be many different things," said Norris, speaking to members of the media that included RacingNews365.com.
"James is here [at the track]; James is seeing everything and he's understanding what could be going wrong and what might be the issues.
"It's not up to me to say what we've done right and wrong. I think they probably know what they've done right and wrong, or what path they've gone down.
"Maybe we just need to try a different path or something. James will be on top of it, him and his team, and everyone back in [the factory] will be working hard to figure it out."
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Norris vows to do the best he can at upcoming races
Whatever the fix may prove to be for McLaren, Norris did not appear confident that it would be a quick turnaround, with the cost cap forcing teams to act more sparingly with their upgrades.
The new F1 season may have started with a double-header in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, followed by a long-haul trip to Australia, but the teams and drivers will be offered a chance to take stock in April – the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix (Imola, Italy) being staged between two free weekends.
"I know that my job is to just make the most of it, quite simply," continued Norris.
"Of course, it hurts, and it's painful knowing that you can do the best job you've ever done and you can end up P15, or P13, or P16, or whatever.
"But Formula 1 is not always about pure success and podiums, it is also about doing the best job you can, and I think that's the only side of it at the moment, from my side, and us as engineers here, that we can focus on."
He added: "The rest of it is trying to make a quicker car."
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