Being a Formula 1 driver means being part of an exclusive club but as he seeks gains in his sophomore season Lando Norris has moved even closer to his McLaren team.
Norris has been affiliated with McLaren since 2017, the season in which he captured the Formula 3 crown, and last year stepped up to a Formula 1 race seat.
Norris earned 11th in the championship, taking 49 points, and his assured performances alleviated any concerns that he had been promoted prematurely, following on from McLaren’s previous recent history with rookie drivers.
The Briton, who became Formula 1’s third-youngest driver in history, is now ramping up preparations for the 2020 campaign, with McLaren launching its MCL35 on Thursday.
“There’s a lot of things I had to learn over last year, one of the biggest probably being the time and effort you have to put into improving on things,” Norris said.
“There’s things I obviously wanted to work on and do better in, you have that, but then it’s a lot down to how much time I’m here working with my engineers, or mechanics, or whoever I need to, to work on those problems and limitations and the weaknesses of myself.
“It’s not just spending a day a week and working on it, it’s spending two-and-a-half days or three days a week or whatever, or whenever I need to, to focus and improve on those things.
“[McLaren team-mate] Carlos [Sainz] will do the same, and a lot of other drivers do the same.
“It’s obvious and easy for me to come into the factory whenever I need to, to work on the things I need to, it’s a lot of time and effort to work on those things, and that’s something completely different to working on F2 and F3 and other categories really.
“Time and effort of self-improvement is probably one of the biggest things I’ve had to change.”
In order to facilitate the change Norris has shirked any notion of moving abroad and has instead upped sticks from Guildford, which used to be a 25-minute commute, to be even closer to McLaren’s Technology Centre, located just outside of Woking.
“I have changed places [to be] even closer to McLaren,” he said. “I timed it the other day. It took me 3 minutes 20 seconds to get from here to my new place. That’s driving within the speed limit.
“It’s even more convenient. I’m closer to the airport and so on. I like everything how it is now.”
Another element that Norris may change this year is his approach to social media.
Norris earned a large following through 2019 courtesy of his exploits across a range of platforms but reckons some of the insights provided critics with inaccurate ammunition on days when problems arose.
“Things can get portrayed quite differently from what I know and see from doing myself compared to the outside world,” he said.
“People see me make jokes and whatever and therefore they turn and put a lot of blame and mistakes I do on me having fun, and them seeing me look like I’m not focusing compared to other drivers.
“Other [drivers] don’t post funny videos or whatever and [critics] think that’s the reason for why I make mistakes sometimes and they put the blame on the fact I have fun and enjoy things more than other people.
“I’m not going to change a lot, just small things here and there to make sure I look focused.”
“It’s quite different being in the world we’re in in the paddock and then from what people see on TV or social media things can still look very different.
“It’s just trying to get the balance right and try and put them together as well as possible, how people see me on social media and vice versa.”