McLaren: Norris rash vocal criticism 'is what champions do'

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McLaren team principal Andrea Stella says Lando Norris' abrupt criticism of the team's strategy over the radio in last week's Dutch Grand Prix was a reaction the team welcomes as it wants to be "challenged" by its drivers.

At Zandvoort, amid the chaotic start to the race as rain pummeled down on the opening lap, a frustrated Norris slammed his race engineer for urging him to stay out on slicks despite the wet conditions, yelling "are you stupid" over the radio.

In Monza on Thursday, Norris admitted that his reaction had in hindsight made him cringe as it conveyed the wrong impression.

"When you look at it after you always think 'I make myself look like an idiot' and I get that," he said. "But the people I speak to know that I would never mean something like that, of course."

When asked on Friday about his driver's heat-of-the-moment comment, Stella said his team was unfazed by Norris' blasting, insisting it much prefers a driver with character than someone being passive in the cockpit.

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"He was obviously frustrated because he realised that we were missing an opportunity by staying out one lap too much, and this is because the people misread the situation. So Lando was addressing it," Stella said.

"This is what champions do. We like this character. We want to be heavily challenged by the driver. And we can be heavily challenged because our culture is strong, we can bear with that.

"We'd rather have this kind of challenge than a passive driver that just takes everything and doesn't contribute to the development of the team. So, for us this episode is not a problem at all."

Stella noted that interpreting a driver's ire in any given situation without giving way to any sort of escalation was part of the team's culture. However, the Italian was also appreciative of Norris' effort to address the moment with his crews after the race.

"I talked about culture before and this means that you have awareness of what racing is, you have awareness of how you should take drivers' comments, and just make use of it as long as they are constructive and just dismiss all the rest," Stella added.

"We are very aware of that. And Lando himself, he is aware that he came across tough to the team. But then he dealt with it immediately after the race with the quality of the person and the driver that we all know. For us the matter is closed.

"In terms of how Lando perceives himself, I'm sure he will make some adaptations to his tone and pitch and so potentially we will hear Lando speaking in slightly different ways so that he comes across in a way that is closer to what he expects of himself.

"But for us, we are happy, and we just have to make sure we support him as well as he deserves."

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