Lando Norris believes Racing Point’s approach of attempting to copy Mercedes’ Formula 1 car design has made the midfield pecking order hard to judge heading into the 2020 season.

Racing Point’s RP20 concept has proven a controversial topic among its midfield rivals after it was inspired by Mercedes’ W10 contender, with the Silverstone outfit’s latest F1 car closely resembling last year’s title-winning machine.

McLaren is aiming to build on securing fourth place in the 2019 constructors’ championship but Norris is unsure how the competitive order will now shape up after Racing Point ended each of the opening five days of winter testing inside the top four.

On Wednesday, Sergio Perez said the RP20 was the best car he has ever driven throughout his career. 

Asked if leading the midfield is a realistic target for McLaren, Norris replied: “I don’t know what the midfield is anymore, because there’s one pink car which is very fast.

“It’s difficult to know. The order will be shaken up and changed around a bit. I’m hoping it will be not as spread out between the top teams and us. I’m hoping it’s all a bit more bunched up.

"Mercedes still look extremely good, as usual, Red Bull look very good, Ferrari don’t look as amazing as they did last year, but you never know. Things can change. We need to keep our head down.

“I don’t want to comment too much,” he added. “It [the Racing Point] looks like a Mercedes for sure.

“I don’t know what the idea and process is behind it and how everything has worked out so no point me saying anything which is incorrect, but they seem to have done a very good job, with whatever they have done.

"They are fast and I think they have set the pace for the midfield teams last year for just this pre-season testing, but it doesn’t mean we will go to Australia and they are going to be amazing.

“We have work to do to try and catch up to them up a bit, but Australia is a very different story.”

Norris racked up 113 laps in his final pre-season testing appearance before teammate Carlos Sainz concludes McLaren’s winter programme on Friday.

“From my own side, I’m very happy,” Norris explained.

“All the things I wanted to work on over the winter and had planned over the last week or two weeks, I think I made my own priority, I made good progress and I’m happy with what I did and how much better I’m in those areas.

“Doesn’t mean I’m perfect, always room for improvement, but I’m satisfied. As a team, we have done a good job.

“Still one day to go, but how everything has run and how smoothly we have been operating, I think we are satisfied, but there are still plenty of things to improve.”

 

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