Lando Norris has admitted that McLaren is a “long, long way” off the pace in Formula 1 this season after a dire showing at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Norris and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo spent the race circulating among the backmarker group that included Aston Martin and Williams.
Norris classified in 15th place, behind Ricciardo, as the pair finished in front of only Williams’ Nicholas Latifi and Aston Martin stand-in Nico Hulkenberg.
“This is where we are, quite simply, we just have to get a little bit used to it now,” said Norris.
“Of course, over the last few seasons, there’s been a lot of expectation from us within the team but also everyone else watching and we just haven’t got it right at the minute.
“We’re a long, long way off, not a little bit, a long way. We’ve got to start fresh, figure things out, find solutions. Solutions don’t mean next week we’re going to be amazing but in months to come we need to understand what’s going on here and how to get better.”
Norris added that “everyone needs to know there’s going to be a bit of pain” in the coming weeks as McLaren strives to figure out its issues.
“We’re a long way down on downforce, the handling is very poor, it’s a tricky car and tricky tyres to optimise,” he said.
“When you just don’t have the downforce you can’t get the tyres working well and get everything in a good window, you’re understeering, oversteering, just more things going on, I think that’s the problem: we need less things going on, we need more rear, more front, just downforce really.
“Sounds simple but obviously complicated to figure it out.”