Norris hails Stella's "injection of faith" at McLaren

(L to R): Andrea Stella (ITA) McLaren Performance Director with Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren. 30.09.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 17, Singapore Grand Prix, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Practice Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images
© XPB 

Lando Norris says that Andrea Stella's arrival as team principal has given McLaren a renewed injection of faith that will help carry them forward after a difficult spell in the last 12 months.

Stella took on the role when Andreas Seidl departed for a new role at Sauber at the end of 2022, following a season that saw McLaren miss out on 'best of the rest' honours by finishing in fifth place in the constructors championship.

This year has also got off to a problematic start, with Norris and Oscar Piastri failing to finish in the points in either of the first two rounds of the season in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

But things picked up in Australia with both drivers in the top ten following a chaotic late race restart. Norris is feeling re-energised after that success, and heads to Baku feeling upbeat about their prospects for the year.

“Andrea gives me a lot of faith, probably the most I’ve seen in my time here in F1," he said this month. "So that’s a good thing."

Norris said his commitment to McLaren remained undimmed despite the recent problems, and credited key personnel like Stella, Seidl and McLaren CEO Zak Brown for keeping him loyal to the cause.

“When I work with Andreas or with Zak, with Andrea, those are the people that I kind of put my faith in," he said. “I think a lot of it for me is personnel.


"But I’m also not the best person [to ask]", he admitted. " I don’t know who is amazing, and who isn’t!

"I guess I have the understanding - like, everyone knows who Adrian Newey is. Everyone knows of people who have done things for many years in the past and created history.

"[But] I don’t know a lot from that side and therefore you could say I’m not a personal kind of guy. I gain faith from the people that I work with."

However Norris was quick to agree that it wasn't just about the right people, and that personnel had to be matched by having the right resources such as a new state of the art simulator available as well.

“I guess it would be some bits of both,” he said when asked why he remained loyal to McLaren. "The simulator is the final piece of the puzzle before you bring an upgrade to real life, it’s a thing that you try on the sim.

(L to R): Andrea Stella (ITA) McLaren Team Principal with Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren. 29.03.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Preparation Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images

“When things are a little bit out of date - when they’re not giving you the right feeling - it’s hard to go, ‘This is the direction we want, this is the direction we don’t want’ kind of thing."

McLaren is set to introduce a major new package of upgrades to the MCL60 next week in Baku, although Stella himself has already sought to play down expectations of a 'B-spec' car that will turn their fortunes around.

“The improvement of car performance issues should start in Baku,” he said earlier this month. “It’s just the first step - we would expect definitely another major upgrade,

“They are not going to be a game-changer," he insisted. "But it will be the first step on what we hope is going to be multiple upgrades.

"We hope we will be in condition to fight for points in the future on merit and not only in eventful races," he added, referring to the mayhem at the end of the Australian GP.

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