McLaren’s Stella: Norris ‘true F1 Potential is “Almost Unexplored”

Photo credits: McLaren
Spread the love

While McLaren was in good form in the back half of last season, the team will still be looking back on what might have been if the team kept that form over the course of all 24 races. Could the team have picked up a race win? Pole positions? Podiums? It could be one of the biggest “what if?” scenarios in Formula One in recent years.

That being said, McLaren sit on a bed of potential, not just in their car, but in their drivers as well. The dynamic duo of Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris is not only the one with the most talent currently on the grid, but the one that has the most potential to be a dual threat in the coming years.

Norris’ skills in particular have never been doubted since the second he arrived in Formula One. However, he is still missing that one key milestone to truly cement himself amongst the best of the best: his first F1 win.

When Team Principal Andrea Stella was asked about where Norris’ mistakes came from that could have prevented him from achieving his first win, Stella said that it’s not just mistakes that have left Norris so eerily close to that elusive win. He also remains confident that Lando’s full potential has not been unlocked yet, and everything else is yet to come.

“I don’t think there is a single element that one should identify on the track. I think that when you deal with champions, when you deal with delivering at such a high level in professional sport, you need to look at opportunities very holistically.

“And I think that things are also quite connected – like the physical state is connected with the mental state, which is connected with the well-being overall and the integration within the team. All these battles are very strong on Lando’s side.”

“It’s not really the top potential. Especially for Lando, this is almost unexplored as to how good he is.”

Norris came so close to reaching his first win a few times. Both times were in 2021, where he finished second against his teammate Daniel Ricciardo in Italy, and then spun on the last lap in Russia. Norris has been fighting strong since then, and seems restless to get his win. However, Stella has said that his team needs to help Norris but him in a true situation to compete for victory.

“I think the first victory is always somehow the most important, no?” Stella replied. “Because it comes with some confidence. I think some other things come slightly easier.

“But, at the moment, I would say the main reason why this has not been possible is because we have not put Lando in conditions to consistently compete for the victory.

“So, when Lando wins his first race, [it] will be a beautiful moment. He is ready for that. It’s more about us being ready [and] delivering the car that allows him to take the opportunities.”

While Oscar Piastri technically won a race, Stella also said that the competition between Norris and Piastri is friendly, but also that the situation would be rather strange, but happy nonetheless, if Piastri won a full race before Norris did. The rest is up to the drivers to try and best each other without destroying the team’s dynamic.

When you asked about Oscar getting his first victory and were talking about getting a headache, my reaction wasn’t a headache. I was like: ‘Wow, I look forward to it’.

“It would be an incredible result considering what we saw last year with Red Bull, where there wasn’t really much space left for anybody else.

“So, I think if we have a victory from Oscar, that would be an incredible emotion and it would be an incredible emotion for Lando as well, because it means we have a car that can win races.

“If I project myself for one second into Lando’s head, I think I would recognise how fair of a competitor he is. He’s a very fair person and he would ask himself: ‘What do I need to do better to do the same as Oscar has been able to do?‘,” Stella concluded.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *