McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella has praised the growing influence of driver Lando Norris within the team.
The Briton in now his fifth year in F1, having joined McLaren in 2019, and with Daniel Ricciardo leaving the team last year to be replaced by rookie Oscar Piastri, Norris finds himself as the more experienced driver in a pairing for the first time.
Though McLaren does not operate a strict hierarchy between its two drivers, Stella noted that Norris was developing into a more senior figure within the team, adding that the professional relationship between himself and Piastri has proved fruitful.
“Lando is definitely evolving towards more of a leading position,” Stella told F1.com.
“Not a leading position as the leading driver, but just drivers that kind of try to pull the team, just not only being on the receiving end of it.
“And the second point is that by having a driver as quick as Oscar, definitely you are in the condition to exploit the potential of the car better, because in some corners, even in FP1 Oscar is immediately competitive, if not a little quicker.
“So, Lando can say ‘Okay, we can do this in this corner’, and so on. And likewise, obviously, for Oscar with Lando. The second element, which is remarkable this year, is how similar the comments are between the two drivers.
“And this is not only in the offline debriefings, but it’s also when the drivers come back after they run the first run during a session. They actually use the same terminology, like it looks like they are in communication before reporting their feedback.
“This is obviously very important for engineers, because it means that what is coming from the driver is very consistent, is very clear. It gives you a clear direction for set-up and for development.”
How McLaren is supporting Piastri
With Ricciardo leaving the team in 2022 after a disappointing campaign, Stella added that the team had redoubled its efforts to make sure that Piastri would hit the ground running in his rookie year.
“Well, [that] side of the garage, they kept working in the way with the best practice, with the attention that they’ve had in the previous years,” said Stella.
“But definitely, it’s important from an engineering point of view that you learn as much as possible.
“Having worked with different drivers, having gone through highs and lows, what’s important in this sport is that every day you are better than yesterday.
“So, even in terms of the engineering that supported Daniel and now is supporting Oscar, there’s definitely been quite a lot of learning and self-criticism, in a way, which is the way that you actually cash-in the learning from experience.”