McLaren is one of the most iconic teams in the F1 Paddock and appears to almost be back at their best after a difficult few seasons.
There’s continuity within the driver pairing this season, but will this help the Woking-based team in their pursuit to be Champions again?
Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo will race for the team once again this season after they joined forces last year, in what was a rather successful season for McLaren.
Norris is in his fourth season of Formula One and last season was probably his strongest season to date. He claimed four podiums on his way to finishing 6th in the Championship.
With podiums around Imola, Monaco, Austria and Monza, he helped to hold off his more experienced team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in the battle between the two drivers.
However, it was Ricciardo who managed to go one further and win a Grand Prix, taking the top spot at Monza ahead of Norris in the only 1-2 of the season for any team.
Ricciardo is going into his 12th season of Formula One and will be hoping to put the difficulties of last season behind him, despite taking a race victory.
However, he will face an uphill struggle at the start of the season after he tested positive for COVID during the Bahrain test, missing all three days of running.
Should Ricciardo not be able to race in Bahrain, something the team think will not happen, Oscar Piastri is available to drive for the team after a deal was agreed with Alpine.
The team did look very strong during the Barcelona test, with many putting them right at the very top, but things weren’t as strong when testing came to a conclusion in Bahrain.
Brake problems hampered the teams running and Norris was behind the wheel for the entire test, with fatigue presumably being a factor late into the Saturday evening after endless hours behind the wheel of the MCL36.
In Bahrain, Norris ended each day 6th, 8th and 9th on the timesheets, but with running time-limited, it will be interesting to see if McLaren are still one of the favourites ahead of the new season.
The relationship between Norris and Ricciardo is one that everyone in the team should be happy with. They are two very competitive drivers but they both bring out the best in each other.
Ricciardo was improving through the entirety of last season and while the lack of testing time may negatively impact him early on in the season, he should be back to the Danny Ric that we all know very soon.
Norris has proved himself over the three seasons he has raced so far, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him standing on the top step of the podium this season.