By Alan Baldwin
WOKING, England (Reuters) – McLaren team mates Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz kept their driver bromance bubbling at the launch of their new MCL35 Formula One car on Thursday.
The British-based team emerged from the doldrums to finish fourth last season and, in the 50th anniversary year of the death of founder Bruce McLaren, are aiming to build on that momentum.
Norris, a rookie last year as Britain’s youngest F1 driver, and Spaniard Sainz both liked what they saw as the Renault-powered papaya and blue car was pushed out at the Woking factory.
“I pretty much designed the whole thing,” joked Norris. “Everything we went through last year, all our comments and discussions between us as drivers has been put into this and based around that.
“It’s a lot more my car, we’ve had the input into making this, so it feels a lot more my baby,” added the 20-year-old.
Sainz, the more experienced of the two at 25 years old and heading into his sixth season, said it looked slimmer and better: “I like it. I like it a lot,” he said of the livery with its matt finish.
The two drivers hit it off last year, their friendly rivalry on and off track providing plenty of entertainment for the team’s army of fans, and they made clear they expected that to continue.
“We managed to develop a good relationship with each other but also a good working relationship inside the team,” commented Sainz, who last year took McLaren’s first podium since 2014 with an inherited third place in Brazil.
Norris said he was more confident, more relaxed, in his second season.
“Especially working with Carlos, there’s a lot of things I had to improve on and work on,” he said of 2019. “It’s been good. It’s made it a lot more fun, especially in my first year in Formula One.
“I’ve been able to settle into things a lot quicker than I thought I would and a lot of that’s been down to Carlos and how we got along and helped each other. It’s been a lot of fun and I hope to continue that way.”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)