Andrea Stella responds to angry Lando Norris radio rant

Michelle Foster
McLaren team boss Lando Norris speaking with Andrea Stella on the McLaren pit gantry.

Andrea Stella wouldn't want a 'passive driver' in the McLaren.

After Lando Norris’ expletive-filled radio rant at the Dutch Grand Prix, Andrea Stella says McLaren would rather be “heavily challenged” by a driver than have a “passive” character in the car.

Norris was fuming with McLaren as he dropped toward the rear of the field at the Dutch Grand Prix after McLaren opted not to bring him in for wet tyres during an early rainstorm.

Having started second but falling further and further back, the Briton asked his engineer if he was “stupid” during the intense exchange.

McLaren team boss weighs in on Lando Norris’ radio rant

Days later he admitted looking back at it he made himself “look like an idiot”, but that it was the “emotions” at the time and that his engineer and the rest of the pit wall “know that I would never mean something like that, of course.”

His team boss Stella was asked his thoughts on the heated exchange, which wasn’t the first time Norris had let his frustrations out over the radio.

Stella told the media including “At the time Lando made the comment that I understand was broadcast, he was obviously frustrated. He was frustrated because he realised that we were missing an opportunity by staying out one lap too much.

“And this is because the pit wall misread the situation. So Lando was addressing it. This is what champions do. We like this character.

“You know, we want to be heavily challenged by the driver. And we can be heavily challenged because our culture is strong. We can bear with that, you know. We’d rather have this kind of challenge rather than a passive driver that just takes everything and doesn’t contribute to the development of the team.

“So for us, this episode is not a problem at all. I think we all also should be careful in extracting a single comment out of context and being over-judgmental about it.

“Actually, the review after Zandvoort has been very constructive and I’m very pleased with the, again, reinforcing the culture that we saw in the team and the drivers.” recommends

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Norris recovered to finish the Dutch Grand Prix in seventh place, scoring a further six points toward his and McLaren’s campaign.

Pressed as to whether Norris’ rants could hurt the team morale, Stella replied: “In terms of the motivation… You know, I talked about culture before and this means that you have awareness of what racing is, you have awareness of how you should take drivers’ comments, and just make use of it, as long as they are constructive and just dismiss all the rest.

“We are very aware of that and Lando himself, is aware that he came across as tough to the team but then he dealt with it immediately after the race, just with the quality of the person and the driver that we all know.

“So, for the team the matter is closed, and overall, for the team, we have grown. So we have no problem at all with that.”

But while Stella was understanding, Norris himself admits he doesn’t like hearing the way he speaks to the team over the radio.

“I always sound like I’m crying or I’m moaning on the radio. I don’t know why, I hate it,” he said in the build-up to the Italian GP. “I feel like I’m really relaxed and chilled in the car but then I’m always the opposite when I listen to myself afterward.”

That was put to Stella, who said: “In terms of how Lando perceives himself, I’m sure he will make some adaptations to his tone and pitch and so, potentially, in some time we will hear Lando speaking in a slightly different way, such that he comes across in a way that is more close to what he expects of himself.

“But for us, we are happy. And we just have to make sure we support him as well as he deserves.”

Norris has spearheaded McLaren’s resurgence this season with the 23-year-old finishing in the top seven in every one of the five races since McLaren’s revised car hit the track in Austria.

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