Lando Norris says McLaren’s return to Mercedes power for the 2021 Formula 1 season has been a “smooth operation”.

McLaren was last powered by Mercedes in 2014, having switched to Honda for the subsequent three seasons.

A messy divorce from Honda paved the way to a move to Renault in 2018, which aided McLaren’s resurgence up the grid as it finished fourth and third in the constructors’ championship in 2019 and 2020.

The Woking-based outfit looks favourite to win the midfield battle in 2021 with many expecting it to finish third in the constructors’ championship again.

Reflecting on his first experience with Mercedes power, Norris said: “I think altogether it’s been a smooth operation with Mercedes power so far. I think we’re happy with how things have gone. The bit for me is understanding all the new switches and ways of working that they have – that’s one of the biggest things to get used to – and on the whole it’s that little step forward in a lot of areas.

“But there are some areas that still need some work, and we’ve been working very closely with them over the last three days because the other teams which are Mercedes-powered have been with Mercedes for a while. There’s just that constant everyone kind of gets used to things, and we’ve come in from Renault with fresh eyes, different perspectives, different feelings, and I think we’ve really been able to add and improve in some areas.”

Mercedes is renowned for his high-power 'party mode' settings and Norris says McLaren won't know the true capability of its new power unit until Q3 in Bahrain qualifying,    

“So very productive between us and the Merc guys – HPP [High Performance Powertrains] – and I think we can be happy with the improvements we’ve made over the last three days,” Norris added. “There’s still things to work on, again not just with the car but with the PU and so on, but it is at the moment looking good and we’re happy with how things have gone. So we have to wait until qualifying to really unlock the potential and see what the baby’s got.”