Norris/Sainz ‘box of secrets’ was always open

Jamie Woodhouse
Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris McLaren

Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris kept "box of secrets" open say McLaren.

McLaren racing director Andrea Stella believes the atmosphere within the team encouraged Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris to share information.

The first goal for a Formula 1 driver is to beat your team-mate, and considering the fact Carlos Sainz was already confirmed at Ferrari for 2021 it would have been understandable if Norris would have liked to have kept details behind his performances private, or even if McLaren had expected that from him.

But neither was the case, with Stella saying that throughout the 2020 season Sainz and Norris were always ready to open their “box of secrets” to the other, and believes it was the atmosphere created within the McLaren team which encouraged this.

“At the end of the day, it’s the drivers who are in the car. They are the ones that need to go out there and extract the performance from it to deliver the results,” Stella told the McLaren website.

“You can’t bring the points home if the drivers aren’t doing the job. Carlos and Lando have been excellent this year.

“The level of collaboration between the two of them has been incredibly high. It’s one of the reasons they are so evenly matched on track.

“When there is an open and transparent dialogue between team-mates, it elevates their performance because they can cross-check with each other and quickly identify the weak points of the car or find the best approach to a corner.

“This has been possible due to the personal qualities of Carlos and Lando and, I hope, the environment we have built within the team which encourages openness and trust. It means the drivers feel comfortable opening their box of secrets, rather than keeping that box closed so as not to give away any advantage to their team-mate.”

Lando Norris, McLaren
Lando Norris, McLaren

McLaren technical director James Key added that the openness between Norris and Sainz when it came to data-sharing allowed them to really pinpoint the weaknesses of the MCL35.

The same could be said for their test and development drivers Oliver Turvey and Will Stevens.

“It’s allowed us to pin down the real issues and weaknesses with the car,” he said.

“This is important because there’s always the risk of falling into a bit of a trap when you have drivers with differing opinions, or their opinions change quite drastically due to the particular challenges of a race weekend such as track characteristics or tyre degradation.

“We didn’t fall into that trap because Carlos and Lando, as well as our test and development drivers Oliver Turvey and Will Stevens, were so consistent in their feedback and that’s a huge help when it comes to identifying our priorities for car development.

“There’s only so much you can do with simulation tools. Extracting the maximum performance from a car is subjective, it’s based on feeling and confidence behind the wheel and that’s only information you can get from a driver. As Andrea said, they are the ones in the car and that’s why their input is so valuable and useful.”

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