For the second time in 12 months, McLaren appear to be heading into the new season on the back foot after a tough three-day test in Bahrain.

McLaren’s 2023 car has been hampered by being too draggy, while the team have also faced continued problems with the wheel brows on the MCL60 which has severely restricted their running. 

Norris could only manage 11th on the final day of testing, with new rookie teammate Oscar Piastri finishing down in 16th. 

The 23-year-old was visibly frustrated at the end of a torrid test, F1 presenter Will Buxton has revealed. 

“I actually saw him leave the garage and walk to the little driver’s room on the side and, very unlike Lando, he sort of punched the flimsy, makeshift wall as he walked through,” Buxton said.

“It wasn’t going to knock the wall down but it was that little bit of frustration. You can tell it’s not quite right.”

Speaking at McLaren’s launch earlier this month, Norris, who last year signed a long-term contract running until 2025, insisted he has the patience to wait for the British outfit to rebuild themselves into a championship-winning team in F1. 

But with McLaren facing a tough start to the year, Norris’ future has been brought back into the spotlight.

Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft suggested Norris will be questioning McLaren after a disappointing pre-season. 

Asked by Sky colleague Craig Slater if he thinks Norris might be saying ‘come and get me’ to one of F1’s bigger teams, Croft replied: “I think he might be.

“McLaren were playing down expectations before we came to Bahrain, the story is that McLaren might have slipped back even further, and that’s a worry for Lando.” 

Norris, publicly at least, has reiterated his commitment to McLaren. 

“I’m still here for a few more years. It’s because I want to be,” he told Sky F1 at the end of day two. “It wasn’t because I knew we were going to be winning championships or anything. 

“I knew that it’s a journey and we have to develop and improve on what we have to get to that point. 

“We weighed up every possibility and there’s always a possibility that it takes longer than my contract. But I don’t think that’s a talking point for me at the minute. 

“I’m not the most patient guy but at the same time I’m happy with the work and the plans that the team are doing.”