McLaren team principal Andrea Stella explains reliability problems, potential points lost

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Photo: McLaren Racing

Last year McLaren finished a season of ups and downs which overall was very disappointing. The Woking team finished fifth with 159 points and only one podium at the end of the season, and today the crisis seems to continue with probably no immediate solution.

Last weekend the world championship started in the worst way for McLaren, with Lando Norris who finished the race last – with several reliability issues with the power unit and tyre pressure problems – and the DNF of the Australian rookie Oscar Piastri, due to an electrical problem.

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella explained the English driver’s problems in his post-race media session:

“There was a pneumatic pressure leak on Lando’s car. We discovered this leak relatively soon in the race, and then we knew that it was possible to do only 10, 11 laps each time before having to refill.

“So we decided to stay in the race. We decided to try and stay at least within one lap from the leader in the last ten laps and then if there is a Safety Car try and see if there’s an opportunity. But it meant that we did six stops.”

The fact that Lando Norris was lapped twice by the drivers at the front derives mainly from the continuous pit stops that the team was forced to make.

But Stella still tried to extrapolate something positive, even from the team’s bad performance, explaining that without that problem both Norris and Pistri could have fought for a higher position, maybe even for some points, given the tightness of the race and the good tyre degradation that the MCL36 showed.

“I think the most positive element today is that without the issues, Lando would have been a strong contender for points.

“The pace of the car in the race was almost beyond expectation. I think in the race we see some reward for the work we did over the winter in trying to improve the interaction between the car and the tyres. This was certainly a strong position on Lando’s side,” he added.

“But also Oscar actually was having good degradation in the first stint. He overtook cars, it was a very tight race, so we could have been in the points with two cars. That’s the most positive outcome of this event.”