Lando Norris has lauded McLaren Formula 1 boss Andrea Stella for the side’s “amazing” turnaround in 2023, adding that he “couldn’t ask for a better team principal”.
Stella was promoted into the role over the winter after Andreas Seidl’s departure to Sauber but endured a baptism of fire as McLaren battled with an underdeveloped car.
However, the integration of a substantial upgrade package from the Austrian Grand Prix in July elevated McLaren towards the front and into regular podium contention.
Norris and team-mate Oscar Piastri managed to collect nine top-three finishes between them, while the Australian recorded a maiden victory in the Qatar Sprint race.
McLaren managed to overturn what had been a 137-point deficit to Aston Martin at one stage to secure fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship by 11 points.
Asked to reflect on Stella’s debut year at the helm, Norris said: “I did an interview the other day and I had to say a big thanks to him because I think it’s not everything just on him and you’ve got to thank a lot of other people on the team because they’re the ones who have done a lot of the work and Andrea is just the director of it all.
“He’s the producer of the set and everyone else is the cast. He’s done an amazing job.
“I’m very, very happy with having him where he is. It settles a lot for the team, I guess on the weekend in terms of racing and qualifying and all of that, but I couldn’t ask for a better team principal. So, yeah, grateful.”
(L to R): Oscar Piastri (AUS) McLaren celebrates his third position with Andrea Stella (ITA) McLaren Team Principal and second placed team mate Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren.
24.09.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 17, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan, Race Day.
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Meanwhile, McLaren CEO Zak Brown, who was responsible for handing Stella the position, commended the Italian for pioneering the team’s remarkable upturn.
“Andrea has done a fantastic job – he’s a tremendous leader,” Brown added.
“He’s a great communicator, he empowers the team, he listens, he gives great direction – I can’t say enough great things about him.”
McLaren’s bid to challenge at the top in 2024 will be bolstered by the team’s state-of-the-art wind tunnel facility and the addition of two marquee technical arrivals in January.
The British outfit secured the return of David Sanchez (Car Concept & Performance) from Ferrari, while Rob Marshall (Engineering & Design) opted to trade Red Bull for McLaren.
Those changes, along with McLaren’s renewed competitiveness throughout the course of the past season, have vindicated Brown’s decision to promote from within.
“The proof is in the pudding [in terms of results],” he continued. “Look at what he inherited at the start of the year, which was kind of the ninth-quickest car.
“We’ve been in the second half of the year kind of the second, third-quickest car, [scoring] a pole, lots of podiums, so it’s credit to Andrea and everyone in the racing team. It’s a team effort, which is great to see.”
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