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Stella explains how 'evolving' Norris is pulling McLaren along and has become a 'leading driver'

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BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 23: Second placed Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren celebrates on

Andrea Stella has seen an evolution in Lando Norris as a “leading driver” this season, as the McLaren Team Principal also explained how he and Oscar Piastri are working together to push the team forward.

Norris is in his fifth season in the sport – as he joined McLaren as a rookie in 2019 – but this is his first year where he is the most experienced driver, having driven alongside Carlos Sainz in his first two years and Daniel Ricciardo after that.

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And Stella – who is also in his first season as Team Principal of the Woking based squad – revealed how Norris has evolved into more of a leader in the team, and the ways in which he and Piastri are similar.

“Lando is definitely evolving towards more of a leading position,” said Stella. “Not a leading position as the leading driver, but just drivers that kind of try to pull the team, just not only being on the receiving end of it.

"And the second point is that by having a driver as quick as Oscar, definitely you are in the condition to exploit the potential of the car better, because in some corners, even in FP1 Oscar is immediately competitive, if not a little quicker.

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 22: McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella looks on from the pitwall during

Stella explained how Norris has become more of a leader within the team this year

“So, Lando can say ‘Okay, we can do this in this corner’, and so on. And likewise, obviously, for Oscar with Lando. The second element, which is remarkable this year, is how similar the comments are between the two drivers.

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“And this is not only in the offline debriefings, but it's also when the drivers come back after they run the first run during a session. They actually use the same terminology, like it looks like they are in communication before reporting their feedback.

“This is obviously very important for engineers, because it means that what is coming from the driver is very consistent, is very clear. It gives you a clear direction for set-up and for development.”

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 23: Oscar Piastri of Australia and McLaren and Lando Norris of Great

Stella also spoke about the relationship Norris and Piastri have developed within the team

Piastri replaced compatriot Ricciardo at the start of the 2023 season, after the latter suffered two difficult years with the team. And Stella has revealed how the team did a lot of “learning” to make sure they did not make the same mistakes with Piastri that they did with Ricciardo.

“Well, [that] side of the garage, they kept working in the way with the best practice, with the attention that they’ve had in the previous years,” said Stella. “But definitely, it's important from an engineering point of view that you learn as much as possible.

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“Having worked with different drivers, having gone through highs and lows, what's important in this sport is that every day you are better than yesterday.

“So, even in terms of the engineering that supported Daniel and now is supporting Oscar, there's definitely been quite a lot of learning and self-criticism, in a way, which is the way that you actually cash-in the learning from experience.”

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