McLaren Chief Admits Lando Norris Is ‘Not Comfortable’ at Formula 1 Team

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella acknowledges the unease felt by Formula 1 driver Lando Norris, asserting that Norris’ discomfort is preferable to complacency resulting from an elusive race victory.

Stella emphasizes McLaren’s commitment to acknowledging the current lack of a race-winning car for Norris, advocating for a transparent approach that addresses failures rather than sweeping them under the rug. According to Stella, the discomfort within the team may ultimately prove advantageous.

“We must accept that we haven’t put Lando in the conditions to win yet. An uncomfortable situation can work in our favor; it’s extra determination to create the conditions to win races,” Stella asserts.

As of the 2023 Sao Paulo GP, Norris shares the record for the most podium finishes without winning a Grand Prix with Nick Heidfeld. His 13th career podium, a second-place finish in Sao Paulo, marked his sixth runners-up finish and seventh podium in 2023 alone.

The narrative delves into Norris’ near misses, highlighting the 2021 Italian GP as one of the three genuine opportunities he had to secure a Formula 1 victory. Even as he sacrificed a potential win for his teammate Ricciardo, Norris has consistently demonstrated a desire to stand on the top step of the podium.

Stella, commenting on Norris’ mindset, states, “There’s a diplomatic political answer which is, ‘No’, I don’t think it’s affecting him. But I’d rather say, ‘These drivers want to win races.’ I’d rather accept the fact we haven’t put Lando in the conditions to do it yet.”

Reflecting on specific races where victory slipped away, the article highlights Norris’ pole position at the 2021 Russian GP, ultimately thwarted by a strategic decision. The breakthrough chance for a Grand Prix win emerged at the 2023 Singapore GP, only for Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz to secure the victory for the Italian team.

Despite the prolonged wait for a victory, Stella believes Norris remains undeterred. “I don’t want a driver who doesn’t have this strong drive. If this makes him uncomfortable and makes us uncomfortable, we accept it. It’s going to be extra determination to create the conditions to win races,” Stella concludes, emphasizing the team’s commitment to cultivating the environment necessary for Norris to achieve his long-awaited Formula 1 triumph.