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Why McLaren expect points in Jeddah despite difficult start

It was a tough weekend in Bahrain for Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, but the McLaren team are feeling positive about their prospects ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

McLaren are hopeful of getting back into points at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, despite a challenging weekend for the team at the season-opener in Bahrain. After some difficulties at pre-season testing, the first race weekend proved tough for the squad, with rookie Oscar Piastri forced to retire from his debut Grand Prix after 13 laps owing to mechanical issues. Lando Norris also faced problems. The Briton slipped backwards through the field after a pneumatic issue with his MCL60 led to him making six visits to the pits during the race. He eventually retired in the final laps. Despite these issues, team boss Andrea Stella is confident that the outfit can return to the points in Jeddah. "The team head to Saudi with renewed mindset and determination to get back into the points, which was possible in Bahrain without reliability issues," he explained. "There has been a lot of analysis at McLaren and HPP over the past week to ensure problems are resolved. "We know we've got work to do, but the team in Woking and trackside are fully focused on developments and ready to go again in Saudi."

Norris: I trust the team

Norris shares Stella's positive outlook ahead of the second race of the 2023 season. "It's nice to be back at the track in Jeddah," he commented. "The speed here is great and I love street circuits, so I am looking forward to getting on track. "I had a decent result here last year, and Bahrain showed we have some good race pace so a points finish is very much a possibility, we just need to extract as much as we can from the car. "The team are working tirelessly to learn everything we can from Bahrain and to make changes so that we have a better weekend on track in Saudi. "We know there is a lot of work to do to get to where we want to be, but I trust the team and know they are doing everything they can for us to be better. "Let's get out there and give it everything."

Piastri: It's important we keep our heads high

After the disappointment of recording a DNF on his F1 debut, Piastri is keen to bounce back in Saudi Arabia. "I'm looking forward to going racing at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit," the Australian said. "I've raced here previously in F2 so I have some experience of the track's speedy nature and I’m excited to get out there in an F1 car. "There are some cool features like the fast bends, and it will be my first time on a street track in F1 machinery. "Whilst the result last week was obviously disappointing for my first F1 race, I learned a lot and it’s important we all keep our heads held high. "I know the team are working extremely hard to turn it around from Bahrain and make the best car possible for Lando and myself. "We'll keep pushing forward as a team and I have full confidence that we’ll get to where we want to be."

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