Ex-F1 driver ‘very optimistic’ over McLaren chances in Imola


Former Formula 1 driver Karun Chandhok backed McLaren on a competitive weekend at Imola this weekend after winning in Miami.

Lando Norris took his first career win as McLaren returned to the top of the podium, beating rival Red Bull.

The Woking-based team introduced a major upgrade package last time out with Red Bull set to respond with new parts this weekend in Italy.

However, Chandhok backed Norris to continue his momentum and give Red Bull a renewed challenge over the coming weekend.

“he [Norris] “I've always been good around Imola,” Chandhok said. Sky F1 Podcast.

“I seem to remember he had his lap time taken down one year but he was devastatingly fast in qualifying and ended up racing for a podium anyway.

“I think the updated car they had at Miami will work well at Imola, it's fast, fluid corners again. Miami, on paper, was not the track that should have suited them.

“There were a lot of slow corners, but the car was fast. So I'm very optimistic that McLaren will be in a good position when we get to Imola this weekend.”

'No one in Formula 1 sits still'

Other teams, including Ferrari, are also scheduled to debut new upgrades at Imola, the first European round of the season.

While Chandhok does not expect a title fight to take shape at the top of the standings, he does believe it will become more common for Max Verstappen to be beaten.

“We know Ferrari is going to do an upgrade, they did a filming day and they got a whole bunch of pictures – I don't know if leaked is the right word – but there were pictures online,” he said.

“We have heard from Helmut Marko that Red Bull will be bringing a very big update for this weekend as well. No one in Formula One is sitting still, I expect Mercedes to bring something, and Aston Martin will probably have something.

“I don't think anyone will beat Max for the championship, but what we want to see is for others to pick a few races. We don't want to see him win all but three races.” [like 2023].

“We want to see other people fighting on certain tracks and conditions. So this is a big weekend for Formula 1 in 2024 overall.

“This will set the tone for the next round of European races to come.”



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