After a very good start in Barcelona, the arrival in Bahrain revealed major brake overheating problems at McLaren which greatly hampered the British team’s second winter test session. On Friday, with the Grand Prix kicking off on the same Sakhir track, Woking’s men failed to make the top 10 in a session, best positioned 11th in EL2’s Lando Norris. Daniel Ricciardo had to prematurely end his night driving, due to a hydraulic pressure problem.
Speaking Friday evening, both riders acknowledged that things are far from ideal and that work will be necessary even to see what happens with the MCL36. When asked by Norris whether these difficulties were related to the Sakhir track or to a single seat, he had no answer: “I have no idea.”
“We’ve only been here and not in other arenas, so for now you just have to think about it [le] Deal. If it’s not good here, there are a lot of other similar circuits in Bahrain, so we have to improve it. We’ll see what we can do tonight and approach for tomorrow. We have a lot of rhythm to see if we want to compete against the players in the top ten.”
Apparently Ricciardo, who for his part missed all Bahraini testing due to COVID, felt his limited runs were putting him in difficulty, beyond a matter of McLaren’s pace: “I honestly think we lack the overall grip.”
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren
“The car feels good, but obviously when you have a little bit of control you struggle a bit more and lock a wheel here or there and make some mistakes. I like to think we can obviously improve, but we don’t have any sandbags or anything at the moment. Well, we have some rhythm to find.”
Among the few positive points, brake problems that seem to have lost their intensity: “Realistically, it will never be different. It’s just a question of whether or not it will catch fire. That is the question”Norris said. “I think today is definitely a step forward. But I don’t know how much it is yet.”