Indeed 13th was as good as it would get for Norris. Come the race, the team took a gamble by putting both drivers on the medium tyres. With everyone else on softs they had no chance off the grid and around the opening lap, and Norris lost several of his hard earned positions. The rest of the evening was a hard slog for both drivers.
Both men now realise that they are going to have to be patient and wait for the team to work its way through the problems.
“The only way we’re going to move forward is if we put our eyes forward and get on with it,” said Ricciardo. “And I think that’s important as well, for team morale. If we just sit and moan and cry…
“There’s no good being upset about it and not doing anything. It’s going to require action and effort from all of us. But I think that should motivate us to do better and want to do better.
“And I know we believe that we can be obviously a lot further up the grid. So it’s fuel for the fire. And it might be a slow burn for now. But that’s all we can do to make things better.”
“I think everyone’s working hard,” said Norris. “They have been since last year really, to come up with good things. There are still lot of the positives we got, just sadly more negatives.
“So it’s just about time and working on them. And I think now we understand them more than ever. It’s simply about putting them into action. But again, it’s not an overnight job. It will take time, and they’re gonna be working hard to try and make those improvements.”
The interim brake duct solution probably cost some performance, and while the next iteration might be more efficient, the bigger picture is a general lack of grip, both aero and mechanical. In the end it will all come down to hard graft in the wind tunnel and in the design office under the technical direction of James Key.
On the plus side, over the past couple of years team principal Andreas Seidl has helped to make McLaren into a more dynamic and confident organisation.
“It’s obviously a very challenging situation now for the entire team starting this new era with this completely new car, completely on the back foot,” Seidl admitted in Bahrain.
“It’s a test for the entire team to show that we can deal with the situation”
“But I think it’s also a moment where we have to show how far we came as a team, that we actually can deal with this and get us out of the situation.
“We have everything in place in the team in terms of people, experience, expertise in order to come back as quickly as possible. And that’s what we have to focus on now.
“We need to wait now for the detailed analysis the team is doing, it’s very important now to do that, also, let’s say in a calm manner.”