Lando Norris’ concerns over McLaren’s race execution addressed by team boss

Sam Cooper
McLaren racing director Andrea Stella and Lando Norris. Singapore, September 2022.

Andrea Stella speaks with Lando Norris. Singapore, September 2022.

Andrea Stella has disagreed with Lando Norris’ assessment that focusing on upgrades has hurt McLaren’s race extinction.

While his team-mate finished on the podium in the sprint race, Norris’ recent purple patch stumbled somewhat in Spa with the Brit finishing seventh after a race that saw him running near the back at one point.

Afterwards, Norris raised concern that McLaren’s focus on improving their car may have come at the cost of their ability to plan for certain tracks but his boss Stella disagreed with that assessment.

Upgrades not the cause of McLaren’s Belgian problems says Andrea Stella

When McLaren started as poorly as they did in 2023, it was all hands on deck in an effort to make the car at least somewhat competitive.

The rushed nature of this was evident in the fact that when it did come time to fit the upgrades, McLaren only had enough for one car with Norris winning out over Oscar Piastri in Austria.

But in Silverstone, and with both cars upgraded, the McLaren duo impressed with Piastri narrowly missing out on making it a double podium.

While Piastri would make it to the podium in the Spa sprint race, it was a difficult weekend for his team-mate and while Norris conceded it was the right choice to go all in on improvements, he wondered if it had other negative effects.

“We just need to rethink how we approach the weekend,” he said.

“The wing level and stuff like this might work on [this circuit], but it doesn’t work on all of them. And we clearly got it wrong.”

“All of the focus was on doing [the upgrades], which is the correct thing to do.”

Stella though said it was not the fault of the upgrades that McLaren did not get their setup correct for the Belgian grace. recommends

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“In perfect hindsight, we could have tried to find some other solution to reduce the drag on the car,” Stella told media including “I’m not sure how much efficiency would have shed, [how much] we would have removed off the car.

“It could be that we couldn’t have been able to achieve yesterday’s [Saturday] results if we had made this choice so obviously for a dry race, you do want to race with less drag.

“I don’t think there’s a correlation between the fact that we were focused on the upgrades and then the decisions on setup that you make once you are at Spa.

“The real correlation is the fact that because we were very busy on working on other things, we didn’t have the time to work on low drag real wings. So that’s the real correlation. All the rest is not correlated with the fact that we were busy developing the car.”

Despite their difficult weekend, McLaren still left Spa with 16 points added to their tally.

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