Lando Norris has hailed the series of recent technical signings McLaren has made in Formula 1.
After a lacklustre start to the 2023 season, McLaren announced in March that former Technical Director James Key would be departing the team with immediate effect.
Key’s exit coincided with confirmation it had secured the return of David Sanchez from Ferrari, with the British squad also publicising a fortnight ago it had made the signing of Rob Marshall from Red Bull.
The pair will begin work at Woking in 2024 alongside Peter Prodromou as part of a new technical structure that will report directly to Team Principal Andrea Stella.
With McLaren’s form regressing since the switch in regulations, Norris believes the addition of some “big names” is exactly what is needed to get the team back on track.
“From the side of the team and the new people, very happy,” Norris said on the Sky Sports F1 podcast.
“Some big names are coming in, some great additions that have been in the sport for many years, who have been a crucial part in a lot of success in other teams.
“Knowledge and personnel are some of the biggest things in Formula 1.”
Sanchez previously worked for McLaren before moving to Ferrari in 2012. The Frenchman spent over 10 years in Italy and was recognised as an integral cog during the Mattia Binotto era, being responsible for the work on its 2022 and ’23 cars.
Meanwhile, Marshall was viewed as a leading figure in the championship success Red Bull has enjoyed since he joined the Austrian entity back in 2006.
Norris says the vast amount of experience the duo will bring to McLaren has left him excited to pick their technical minds once they arrive ahead of the 2024 season.
“I don’t know these guys personally, I have not been in Formula 1 anywhere near as long as the people who recruited these guys, I just have the respect of knowing what they have done and what they have achieved, whether it was at Red Bull or Ferrari, or whatever team,” Norris added.
“I look forward to working with these people. They are the Formula 1 drivers of their profession. When you hear them talking, and they go into the details, I love that stuff, it is impressive.”
Despite the papaya-liveried side adding new faces to its technical ranks amid a slump in competitiveness, Norris denies that McLaren’s existing crop are “bad people”.
Instead, the 24-year-old claims recruiting externally from rival top teams was a step McLaren needed to take in order to revitalise its bid to get back to the front of the F1 field.
“It is not that we had bad people because that is absolutely not true, it was just making the force bigger,” he continued. “That is what we needed to go and compete against these other teams: Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari.
“It is still fresh, but already at the factory, there have been some good improvements, like the development rate, new ideas, and new perspectives.”
McLaren currently sit sixth in the Constructors’ Championship having scored only 17 points from the opening seven rounds of the year.
Norris put in a spectacular qualifying performance to wound up third on the grid for the Spanish Grand Prix. However, an opening lap collision with Lewis Hamilton damaged the McLaren driver’s front wing and ended his hopes of a points finish.