Lando Norris singles out unsung hero for key role in McLaren’s F1 2023 recovery

Oliver Harden
McLaren driver Lando Norris en route to second place at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Budapest, July 2023.

McLaren driver Lando Norris en route to second place at the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Lando Norris says he “couldn’t ask for a better team principal” than Andrea Stella after the McLaren boss masterminded the team’s stunning turnaround during the F1 2023 season.

McLaren made a slow start to 2023 after missing development targets over the winter, with the team parting company with technical director James Key just weeks into the new season.

A series of mid-season upgrades saw McLaren emerge as the most consistent threat to the dominant Red Bull team come the summer break, with the MCL60 car registering nine podiums from July’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Lando Norris praises McLaren team principal

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Norris equalled his best-ever F1 result of second on six occasions in the second half of the season, with rookie team-mate Oscar Piastri adding two in Japan and Qatar as well as winning the Lusail sprint race from pole position.

After following two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso from Ferrari to McLaren in 2015, Stella was promoted to the role of team principal a year ago after Andreas Seidl left to become chief executive of Sauber ahead of Audi’s F1 entry with the Swiss team in 2026.

Norris has showered praise on Stella, likening the McLaren boss’s impact to that of a movie producer.

Invited to pay tribute to the team principal, he told media including “I’d say a big thanks to him. Everything isn’t just on him: you’ve got to thank a lot of other people in the team, because they’re the ones who have done a lot of the work.

“Andrea is just the director of it all. He’s the producer of the set and everyone else is the cast, but you need everyone to work together very well. and that’s what they’re doing.

“He’s done an amazing job. I’m very, very happy with having him where he is. He still does a lot for the team every single weekend in terms of racing and qualifying and all of that.

“I couldn’t ask for a better team principal.”

Norris’s comments come after he claimed to have 100 per cent confidence that his long-awaited maiden victory will come with McLaren in 2024.

Asked if he still believes he will win a grand prix with McLaren, he told Sky F1: “One-hundred per cent, it’s going to be next year and I’m with McLaren next year.

“If there’s ever a time in my life over the last five years I want to be a bit more confident, it’s probably going into ’24 because we just need to start the season off well. recommends

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“This year, we started off terribly and we’ve still ended up being very, very strong, so if we can start the season a little bit strong at least, then I think it can be a great year.”

Norris stands as the driver with the most points without a win in F1 history, having collected 633 points since making his grand prix debut at the beginning of the 2019 season.

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