McLaren have praised Lando Norris, as the team ‘witnessed’ the young driver’s development throughout two Formula 1 seasons.
McLaren driver Lando Norris has gone from strength-to-strength in his still junior F1 career. After a somewhat reserved rookie season in 2019, Norris came out of his shell for 2020. Taking the fight to his rivals and stepping it up a notch.
The progress Norris had made from just one F1 season under his belt was noticeable. And something that had not only fans excited, but also set McLaren management’s tongues wagging.
Speaking to motorsport.com, McLaren’s head of race operations, Andrea Stella, discussed Norris’ progress
“I think Lando is a really strong racer now,” said Stella. “I would like to add that occasionally, he has been affected by some technical problems. And Lando, one quality I really like about him is that he doesn’t cry. He doesn’t say: ‘I had this problem and this problem, and these are the problems. I’m the best in the world. But because of this problem, I couldn’t show I’m the best.’
“So we can definitely witness his growth as a racer. Also his consistency, capacity to stay on the targeted lap time, capacity to execute a certain stint duration to achieve the strategy that we plan, his tyre-management and so on. So that’s the main things that we have been able to witness in terms of growth.”
Norris’ consistency shone through via his two years competing against former teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. Norris was fairly evenly matched with the older and more experienced driver. And while Sainz would finish ahead on points in the Drivers’ Championship during both seasons, the qualifying and race results between the two were on par.
With time, comes knowledge and experience. The more time a driver spends in a car, the more they are able to effectively communicate with the team. Being able to explain the ins-and-outs surrounding their car. Where it feels good and where improvement is needed.
Stella emphasised Norris’ new found ability to provide that all important feedback. With the knowledge to distinguish between the drivers’ performance and the car’s.
“He has more awareness of himself and more awareness of the car,” Stella continued. “With his natural honesty when he started with us, very often Lando was saying: ‘I’m not doing a good enough job there. I’m not that good in that corner.’ He was very much pointing at himself.
“So I think we helped him separate what is the car, and what is the driver. Very often the driver actually needs to be more demanding with the car rather than simply thinking I need to adapt, or I’m not doing a good enough job at the corner.
“So he [Norris] has now more awareness of what should be the drivers’ contribution, and what should be the car performance. Then him being able to separate them, means his feedback has become more accurate.”