McLaren’s Andrea Stella has said his team is understanding of the “stress” Lando Norris is under as he craves his first F1 win.
Norris is trying to reach his first win in Formula 1, having tied the record during 2023 for being the driver with the highest number of podiums without a grand prix victory.
Worse for Norris is the fact that rookie teammate Oscar Piastri did win a race for McLaren in his first year, albeit the Qatar sprint and not a grand prix outright.
Andrea Stella: Lando Norris is coping very well with this stress
Norris’s closest opportunity for a race win remains his spirited drive in the 2021 Russian Grand Prix, when a miscall on deciding against pitting for wet tyres backfired and opened the door for Lewis Hamilton’s 100th F1 victory.
Since then, Norris has come close – including being a regular thorn in the side of Max Verstappen throughout 2023 – but that elusive first victory remains tantalisingly out of reach.
Despite this, team boss Andrea Stella said his young driver is handling the pressure of chasing that win very well, and isn’t succumbing to overdriving as a result.
“Lando is in a phase of his career which he kind of feels the pressure of: ‘I want to win a race, I want to be there with the guys that I know I’m as good as and I see them winning races’,” Stella told Autosport in an exclusive interview.
“I can really understand, the team can really understand the kind of stress that this can create.”
Andrea Stella: No signs of frustration from Lando Norris
While Norris is known for being a little highly-strung when it comes to his radio messages, Stella said there have been no instances of finger-pointing back at McLaren for a failure to deliver a car capable of winning.
“The first thing for me I would like to say is how good he was in coping with this stress,” Stella emphasised.
“Because some other drivers could have reverted, could have transferred their stress onto the team.
“Could have said: ‘Guys, I’m here, I’m ready to perform, but where is the car?’ [I’ve] never heard anything like this.
“His contribution, his support to the team has always been very constructive.”
Speaking to Velocity International last month, Norris said he didn’t reflect on 2023 and rue what might have been – the opportunity simply never came his way.
“We’ve given it a good shot, I don’t think anyone can fault us for what we’ve tried,” he said.
“We’ve been very close the last few weekends. I’ve had a lot of – too many – but a lot of second places this year.
“There’s just one guy and one team in a way but we’re getting there.
“I’m very proud of the whole team. So to to keep up the McLaren name and continue to try and push and get another World Championship. It’s coming.”