Andrea Stella doesn’t think Lando Norris will be too much affected by the rise in the performances and results of Oscar Piastri.
Norris entered the F1 fraternity in 2019 and the last few seasons have seen him in the team lead role at McLaren despite having the likes of Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo around him. The 2023 season has been a slight challenge to him as rookie Piastri has started to acquit himself very well with third and second at Japan and Qatar along with pole and a win the Sprint race in the latter.
In fairness, Norris has been runner up in 50% of the last eight Grands Prix, but made some errors in Qatar and is well known for being his own worst critic. Having said that, team boss Stella is not overly worried about the issue, reckoning the improving Piastri will spur the Brit on somewhat.
“Lando knows himself that Oscar is a unique talent – you don’t see these kinds of talents in Formula 1 every day,” said Stella to media. “So he’s an absolute reference, even if he’s a rookie, and at times Lando knows that he will set the bar very high. But if you are a champion like Lando is, you will have to take that from a positive point of view because he gives you so much information to keep improving”.
“There’s no champion in the world in any sport that wins everything, or as a driver is faster in every corner, faster every lap, and faster every session. So for me, Lando sees this as a bit of discomfort, but it’s the discomfort you need to become the best in a way. It’s a curse and blessing to be a champion”.
Norris of course is no longer a new kid on the block and has been possibly looking over his shoulder a little in light of this and Stella sees this also. The Brit has the trait of criticising himself if things do not go right and the team boss does not think that he goes so far that it is counterproductive.
“Lando is such an honest person, and I think he perpetuates this honesty in every kind of relationship, including the one with himself,” said Stella. “I think he wants to make sure that if he gets it wrong, he gets it from the honesty point of view. He doesn’t want to look arrogant, he doesn’t want to look like he is not acknowledging that he could have done better”.
“But, at the same time, like I said before about champions, you need to find the right balance. And you need to find the right dynamics, in terms of communication to the world and in terms of communication to yourself, to put yourself in the position to perform, and in the position to keep improving every day,” summed up Stella.
As per above, Norris is his own worst critic which is also possibly very good to see. For Stella and the McLaren fraternity, it must too come as a blessing in disguise after what could be deemed to be a very shoddy start to the campaign. He now has not one but two drivers who seem very capable of winning Grands Prix. If it does not happen in 2023, there is a strong chance of them being back in the winner’s circle in 2024.
Here’s Lando Norris on beating Ferrari
Here’s McLaren using recycled fibre in US GP
Here’s McLaren on their team orders protocol
Here’s link to a F1 Discord channel, join in to interact