Lando Norris says having Fernando Alonso on testing duty for McLaren has acted as a timely boost as it develops its MCL34 with the help of the experienced two-time Formula 1 world champion.

Alonso was in action for McLaren during the Bahrain in-season test as part of his hands-on ambassador role at the Woking-based team after stepping away from F1 at the end of last year.

With a relatively inexperienced and all-new driver line-up of Norris and Carlos Sainz, the British F1 rookie has relished the guidance from Alonso and despite seeing the first day of the Bahrain test truncated by rain he is confident clear progress has been gained.

“It was beneficial for all of us. I think Fernando brought a bit to the table in terms of positives and negatives compared to last year’s car,” Norris said.

“It wasn’t all positive, there were some positives here and there. But at the same time, as a test, we couldn’t get as much out of it as what we wanted because of the weather, which I think was a shame for all teams. So there are some things that we wanted to learn that we weren’t able to.

“But in terms of the important things which we couldn’t do on Day 1 and had to move to Day 2, I think we got them out of the way, and we’ve got a better understanding of the car and how to develop it and move it on from there.”

Norris also felt gauging his own driving against Alonso in the same car has been valuable as he continues to adapt to F1 in his rookie campaign.

“That was a good thing for all of us to do and there were some small bits here and there to focus on my driving,” he said. “But overall there wasn’t as much time as what we’d like to cover everything.”

 

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