Lando Norris says he couldn’t ask for a better team principal than Andrea Stella, the young Briton hailing the “amazing” job executed by the McLaren boss this season in reviving the team’s fortunes.
Stella’s appointment as team boss at the end of last year marked a seamless transition of leadership, building upon the foundation laid by his predecessor, Andreas Seidl.
Seidl’s tenure from 2019 to 2022 was characterized by a strategic overhaul and cultural shift within the team, setting the stage for McLaren’s recent resurgence.
But under Stella’s guidance, the team continued its transformation with another significant restructuring of its engineering department taking place during the first quarter of 2023 that bolstered McLaren’s performance and competitiveness, and its remarkable early summer turnaround.
- Stella: McLaren restructuring ‘a fundamental enabler’ in 2023
However, Stella’s ability to clearly articulate the team’s goals, strategies, and challenges, both internally and externally hasn’t gone unnoticed by McLaren’s personnel who appreciate the Italian’s transparency, humility and empathy, and his ability to foster an atmosphere of trust and collaboration.
As far as Norris is concerned, Stella is the perfect leader to steer McLaren on a trajectory of enduring success.
“I did an interview the other day [in Abu Dhabi], and I just said big thanks to him…“ Norris said, quoted by Motorsport.com.
“I think it’s not everything just on him. You’ve got to thank a lot of other people in the team, because they’re the ones who have done a lot of the work.
“Andrea is just the director of it all. He’s the producer of the set, and everyone else is the cast but you need everyone to work together very well. That’s what they’re doing.
“So, he’s done an amazing job. I’m very, very happy with having him where he is.
“He still does a lot for the team every single weekend in terms of racing and qualifying and all of that. But I can’t ask for a better team principal.”
McLaren’s 2024 season will be the team’s first campaign where it will function with its fully completed technical structure, with Ferrari’s ex-chassis chief David Sanchez and Red Bull’s former long-standing chief engineering officer Rob Marshall commencing their duties as McLaren’s engineering and design boss on January 1.
Next year’s car will also benefit from the team’s new on-site wind tunnel, eliminating the need to rent and transport test items to Toyota’s facility in Cologne.
These measures to enhance McLaren’s performance will likely prove crucial in convincing Norris to extend his stay with team papaya beyond the term of his current agreement, which is due to conclude at the end of 2025.
Only time will tell if McLaren fulfills the Briton’s expectations, but the 24-year-old’s perspective is resolutely positive.
“I’m very excited… We have some new hirings… I’m excited because we’re finally on the right track and we know which direction to push,” concluded Norris.
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