McLaren issue very stern response as Norris and Piastri clash at Italian Grand Prix

Jamie Woodhouse
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.

While McLaren principal Andrea Stella says Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri are free to race, he warned both drivers that contact like at Monza is not acceptable.

It was on Lap 26 that Norris and Piastri engaged in banging of wheels down at the opening chicane, Piastri having been exiting the pits as he looked to maintain track position against his team-mate.

Remarkably, neither driver suffered damage, and after the stewards noted that incident, no further action was taken.

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

McLaren review coming after “not acceptable” contact

But, while the stewards were happy that the incident needed no further attention, Norris and Piastri will not be so lucky when it comes to their own team, with Stella very much planning a review of what went down.

“There should never ever be contact between two McLaren cars,” Stella made clear when speaking to media including

“There was contact, which doesn’t fit the way we go racing at McLaren.

“You just review things, like you do with anything that is technical or the rational racing. What is important is to have clear perimeter as to what you deem acceptable, and what you deem unacceptable.

“It’s not an emotional thing. It’s just like you deal with other things, you deal with racing in a similar way. And this is very clear that for any driver, there’s something bigger than them. It’s the team.

“I need to review. I’m sure even the drivers will calibrate themselves for us in that situation.

“It’s always a little tricky when you leave the pits, especially on hard tyres. Certainly Oscar was trying to see where he could place himself so that he could keep the position, but on colder tyres, this could be slightly more difficult than he might have anticipated.

“So I think, we could absolutely conclude that this is just a little misjudgement, therefore it means there is no problem at all, both drivers race and they were aware that there must be no contact between two McLarens and it was just an issue with the execution, which we all have issues with execution of what do we do, and when drivers do that, it becomes very visible.

“But it’s just because they do something difficult and land on the spotlight.” recommends

F1 fastest lap: Which drivers have won the most fastest lap points in F1 2023?

F1 Driver of the Day: Who has won the award in F1 2023?

Asked whether the pressure on Piastri, who was at that point vulnerable to Norris completing a successful undercut to overtake, could be the explanation for what happened, Stella said that would not be an acceptable one.

“If the contract is due to the fact that there was pressure because of the undercut and so, then we have something to review,” said Stella.

“Because it means the drivers put the team at risk because of affirming themselves. This is not acceptable.”

Stella confirmed that the McLaren drivers are “free to race”, though returned to the point that there are perimeters to this which Norris and Piastri must respect.

“They are free to race,” Stella stated. “My role is to give them principles, and a clear perimeter within which they can race. This is what we want to see. It’s exciting to see.

“Like even the Ferraris today, I’m sure on the Ferrari pit wall they were nervous, but it was a good spectacle, we want to see racing.

“But our role is to give the drivers a clear perimeter within this racing should happen. In terms of how you stay within the perimeter, it’s not for us to say because we are not the drivers.

“It’s actually in terms of having the skillsets to say ‘the tyres are a bit cold, maybe I need to take more margin’. Like it’s not for me to say, I’m not in the car. It’s just they need to appreciate that there’s no way the line should be crossed.”

Piastri collided with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton later in the race, for which Hamilton received a five-second penalty, with Piastri forced to pit for a new front wing as he went on to finish P12, while for Norris it was P8.

Read next: Ferrari fans fume at Nico Rosberg as curse strikes again at Monza