Stella urges McLaren to be calm amid Aston Martin F1 chase: “You don’t want to get overwhelmed”

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McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella has urged the Woking-based outfit to remain calm as they chase down Aston Martin for fourth in the Constructors’ Championship. They have taken 59 points out of Aston’s lead since Canada, reducing the gap to 78.

The Italian has overseen McLaren’s meteoric rise in 2023 as a raft of upgrades have made the MCL60 a highly competitive force.

Stella said: “The way we look at things is when you lead the team when you are part of the team, you don’t want to get overwhelmed by, ‘Oh, we need to do that.’

“You almost need to focus on what’s the next right step to do. So our narrative, our message, is always about how we need to outdevelop our competitors.

“We need to make sure we don’t have reliability problems, and we need to operate well at the track to exploit our competitiveness.

“Then we see where we are at the end of the race, at the end of the championship.”

McLaren’s Lando Norris scored his third podium of the season last time out in Singapore, building on his back-to-back top-three finishes in Britain and Hungary.

The British driver fought for the win late on with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and fended off the hard-charging Mercedes pair of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton.

McLaren ran an underdeveloped car in the opening stages of the season before a sizeable update in Austria catapulted the team up the order.

The British team sit fifth in the championship, 78 points behind Aston Martin, who floundered in Singapore, delivering a point-less weekend.

Stella said that the team need to focus on this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka rather than being overawed by the occasion of challenging Aston Martin for fourth place.

“Let’s try to catch Aston, but what are we doing for Suzuka now? And then we shift immediately the point to what upgrades are we taking to Suzuka.

“We had a couple of near misses from a reliability point of view. We had quite a lot of work this morning going on Lando’s car. So how do we fix it? So that’s how you really approach things. Let’s see in Abu Dhabi.”

The 52-year-old team principal said getting fixated on their targets isn’t the best approach as the season draws to a close.

“It’s just how you approach things when you are inside a team. Because otherwise, if you just think about your target, with the targets is good for a conversation, but it’s not good for the doing behind actually the target.”