McLaren braced for more team order tension between Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri

Michelle Foster
McLaren team-mates Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri close. Italy, September 2023.

McLaren team-mates Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri close through the Monza chicane. Italy, September 2023.

Although McLaren would ideally like to avoid team order situations, team boss Andrea Stella admits they will “happen again in the future”.

This season McLaren have a new line-up with Oscar Piastri joining Lando Norris, and already the rookie is pushing his more experienced team-mate hard.

This led to the team’s first double podium of this season at the Japanese Grand Prix where Norris was second across the line with Piastri third.

To date McLaren team orders seem to favour Norris

McLaren seemed to favour Norris in that strategy with the team calling on Piastri to yield to his team-mate rather than hold him up as they battled for position.

But with similar calls in Italy and Hungary, former F1 driver Martin Brundle pondered if Piastri and his manager Mark Webber would be “concerned” about the situation.

Stella though is adamant he’ll do what he believes is best for McLaren on the day.

Speaking specifically about the team orders in Japan, he said that was an easier call to make than either Hungary or Monza but that he’s okay with making the hard calls if he has to.

“It was much, much easier in a way, as those two situations were stressful, especially the one in Monza,” he explained.

“And when I say stressful, I mean stressful because we created stress between our two drivers, which we could have avoided, really.

“That’s something that we reviewed. It may happen again in the future, but when it is avoidable, we should avoid it.

“In this case, the approach was, let’s see how fast Lando is closing, and let’s see if the overtaking comes naturally.

“When we saw that it doesn’t come so natural, then we asked the drivers to swap, so that we wouldn’t lose race time for both.” recommends

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Although Piastri finished the grand prix in third place, the 22-year-old was 17s behind his team-mate and later conceded his race pace management still needed work.

Stella says the timing of their pit stops also played a part in the difference in pace that the two showed when McLaren ordered Piastri to move over.

“In a race like this, every lap of tyre that you save, so if you pit one lap later than somebody else, you gain one-tenth,” he said.

“Lando at that stage pitted six laps later, so his car is automatically six-tenths quicker than the other car.

“Also, in addition to that, I have to say that Lando’s pace was very good in absolute terms. And if anything, we have to look with Oscar at where we could have gained the one or two-tenths overall pace that he seemed to lack compared to Lando.”

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