Lando Norris says Formula 1 cars have felt no quicker than F2 or F3 machinery in Turkey this weekend, thanks to the low-grip track surface at the Istanbul track.
A recent resurfacing of the circuit had not had time to properly cure ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix and has left F1 drivers struggling for grip in both the dry and wet conditions.
With the cars lapping around eight seconds per lap slower than expected in the dry, Saturday’s wet action turned into a battle for teams to get their tyres into the right operating window.
The strange nature of the weekend that has been prompted by the track surface has divided opinion, with some suggesting it has been a farce while others have revelled in the unique challenge the situation has thrown up.
Norris admits he is conflicted about how he feels about it, but says that that the current generation of F1 cars have been not been able to push anywhere near as quick as they should be.
“I think it’s been fun because it’s different, but it’s also not fun because sometimes you just can’t do much and you’re not really driving the best car and you’re not trying to drive the car necessarily the best way,” said the Briton, who ended up 11th on the grid.
“A lot of it’s just down to the car itself, so it almost is worse than normal running in some ways
“There is a challenge but I think it was not as fun as normal because we’re not pushing the limits of a Formula 1 car.
“You feel like you’ll almost be able to do the same laptime in a F2 or F3 car, you’re going that slowly.”
Both Norris and teammate Carlos Sainz endured a frustrating time in qualifying, as their failure to switch their tyres on left them both knocked out in Q2.
Norris reckoned that it would take a post-weekend investigation to get to the bottom of just why McLaren was unable to get more from its tyres like Racing Point could.
“We don’t have a clear answer yet, otherwise we would have been probably much quicker than we were,” he said.
“So I think we need to sit down and understand, or try to understand, because it’s not going to be obvious how we could have got the tyres into a better window or something.
“It’s not going to be necessarily just one thing. It can be a combination of things that they still have. It is still a Racing Point, it’s a very fast car, and it has got a lot of downforce.
“Maybe they can just do that little bit more to turn the tyres on. But yeah, I don’t have an answer. I think we have to study it and then I’ll be able to answer with more detail.”
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