McLaren racing director Andrea Stella has worked with several iconic Formula 1 drivers, and he sees similar element in Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris.
In this extensive career Stella has worked with Formula 1’s most successful driver of all time Michael Schumacher, as well as the likes of two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso and 2007 champ Kimi Raikkonen.
And he says McLaren’s current drivers Sainz and Norris both share “elements” with those legendary drivers.
“I have been lucky enough to find myself next to drivers of the calibre of Michael, Fernando, and Kimi [who] was champion in the first year at Ferrari. They are not born so often, let’s say,” he told Racefans.net.
“But there’s some elements of Carlos and Lando [there] and I want to hope that we are somehow contributing to that, in creating the right mindset.
“Both of them are constantly in the process of [asking]: ‘How can I be better tomorrow than today?’
“I’m sure if you ask every driver, they will all say ‘But I’m doing the same’.
“But there’s a way of doing things and I think they are doing it in the right way, which includes as well some values.”
“A sporting humility”. That’s how Stella charactarises the trait both his current drivers possess.
“It’s a very important characteristic. “It’s acknowledging that you enable the solutions, and the solution comes through collaboration,” he said.
“Carlos, if anything, likes to have his internal dialogue, he likes to reflect on things. Reflective, introspective, very logical, very rational.
“Sometimes I tell Carlos he’s going to be prime minister at some stage, and it’s going to be to the benefit of Spain. He’s a really clever guy, grounded. Even the way he drives: He likes to have a clear plan, even the plan to approach the corner.”
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) September 16, 2020
Norris, in-keeping with his personality, is a bit more “direct” and full-on.
“Lando instead is more like he thinks and he speaks. Very direct, which makes him also… I’m sure from a social point of view he’s quite successful, and it comes through. Straightforward, let’s say,” Stella explained.
“He’s a very nice guy, very talented. He’s learning how to use his talent, and he’s doing well in this respect. We are very pleased with how every day he’s better than the previous day.
“In a way this is true when I was working with Fernando or with Michael. One thing I can say: Up to the last day of their career they thought ‘How can I be better than yesterday?’ In a very humble way, it’s the kind of humility you need to succeed.
“So yes, his collaboration with the engineers, with the rest of the team is good. And in the collaboration of our drivers I think McLaren have an opportunity, compared to what can be happening at other teams.”