Norris fitted his third and final Mercedes power unit of the season for last weekend’s Spa-Francorchamps event, but it took a hit when the British driver smashed into the barriers at Eau Rouge on Saturday.
The impact forced McLaren to fit a new gearbox on to Norris’s car, and the team reverted him to his second power unit for race day as a precaution.
But although that left Norris without his freshest engine for Sunday in Belgium, McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl says inspections of it at Mercedes’ engine HQ have indicated no problems with it and that it can return to his pool.
“All checks have been completed and everything so far looks good,” said Seidl ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix.
“It’s always in the end that you get the final green light once you have reinstalled the unit again and go back on track. But with everything that our colleagues from HPP have checked, we don’t expect any issues.”
The tight nature of the Zandvoort circuit may mean McLaren elects not to run the fresher unit this weekend anyway, but if that is the case then it will almost certainly return for the power track at Monza.
“It’s still open when to use it again,” added Seidl. “But it looks okay and it can be reused at one of the next weekends.”
Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M
Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images
While Norris’s accident had looked spectacular with a rear impact in to the barriers at Raidillon, Seidl thinks that the straight on angle into the car’s crash structure actually proved beneficial in saving the chassis and engine.
“I think we were lucky that in terms of the angle of the impact, the initial impact, it was not too bad,” he said.
“That’s why we could actually keep the monocoque. And also the damage on, for example, the PU was not as bad as it looked like when the crash happened. It’s also the reason why Lando could walk away without any serious issues.”
Should Norris’s third engine have been written off, then it could have forced McLaren to take a fourth unit later in the campaign, which would have resulted in a grid penalty.