McLaren boss admits ‘conflict of interest’

McLaren’s Andrea Stella has called for the FIA to step in after Alpine's wobbly wing raised alarm during the race.

In a dramatic turn of events after the Canadian Grand Prix, McLaren team boss Andrea Stella has expressed his discomfort with the current system that leaves teams responsible for policing their own safety. 

Stella’s concerns were prompted by the increasingly wobbly rear wing of Esteban Ocon’s Alpine, which raised alarms during the race and highlighted a potential conflict of interest.

During the race, McLaren driver Lando Norris closely followed Ocon and noticed the unsettling movement of the Alpine’s rear wing. 

Growing increasingly concerned, Norris informed his team that the wobbling was becoming “worse and worse” and posed a potential danger if the wing were to detach.

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Otmar Szafnauer, team boss of Alpine, defended the situation by stating that their testing had assured them the wing would not come loose. 

Instead of expressing concern as the wobbling intensified, Szafnauer expressed satisfaction that the wing stayed intact as planned.

However, Stella, in an attempt to address the blurred lines between performance and safety, is now urging the FIA to reconsider the current approach. 

He argued that teams should not be solely responsible for determining the safety of their car components. 

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Stella highlighted the Alpine wing incident as an example where a team’s competitive interests may compromise overall safety.

“Race direction now leaves the duty of care to the teams,” Stella affirmed. “It’s a tricky one because the teams, when they are in a competition, have a conflict of interest in terms of the safety of everyone involved and maximizing their result.”

Stella emphasised the need for further discussion on the matter and anticipated that it would be raised at the upcoming Sporting Advisory Committee meeting. 

He echoed Norris’ concerns about the potentially hazardous nature of following a car with a wobbling rear wing and expressed the importance of teams taking responsibility for the condition of their cars and components.

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Szafnauer acknowledged that the FIA had visited their garage regarding the wobbly wing issue. 

The team presented their case, arguing that they did not view it as a safety concern. 

Despite the controversy, Ocon managed to secure four points for Alpine with an eighth-place finish, while Norris and his McLaren teammate Oscar Piastri failed to secure points.