McLaren boss slams Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri for ‘unacceptable’ incident

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella has urged his drivers to put the team above their own success.

After the Italian Grand Prix, McLaren team boss Andrea Stella has strongly criticised the collision between Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, labelling it as “unacceptable.” 

Stella expressed his disappointment with both drivers, emphasising that they placed their individual ambitions above the team’s interests.

The incident occurred when Norris had already made a pit stop for fresh tires, and Piastri emerged from the pits at the start of Lap 24, bringing the McLaren drivers into close proximity as they approached Turn 1. 

While Norris navigated his McLaren around the outside, Piastri aimed for the available gap on the inside, resulting in a minor collision between the rear right tire of Norris’s car and the front left of Piastri’s car. 

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Fortunately, neither driver sustained significant damage, and they continued with the race.

Stella, however, did not mince words when addressing the situation. “There should never ever be contact between two McLaren cars. 

“There was contact, which doesn’t fit the way we go racing at McLaren,” Stella asserted.

He stressed the importance of establishing clear guidelines for what is deemed acceptable and unacceptable behaviour within the team. 

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“What is important is to have clear parameters as to what you deem acceptable and what you deem unacceptable. 

“It’s not an emotion thing; it’s just like you do with other things. 

“You deal with racing in a similar way. 

“This is very clear that for any driver, there’s something bigger than them. 

“It’s the team.”

Stella acknowledged the need for a thorough review of the incident before taking any action. 

He noted that Piastri might have been caught off guard due to the colder Hard tires he was on, saying, “I need to review. Like all things, we will do it calmly. 

“There’s nothing that we need to do urgently. 

“We will take the adjustments that we need. 

“It’s always a little tricky when you leave the pits, especially on hard tires. It could be that certainly Oscar was trying to see where he could place himself so that he could keep the position. 

“But on colder tires, this could be slightly more difficult than he might have anticipated. 

“We could absolutely conclude that this is just a little misjudgment. 

“Both drivers were aware that there must be no contact between two McLarens, and it was just an issue with the execution – we all have issues with execution.”

Throughout the race, Piastri had been running ahead of Norris, a rare occurrence this season where Norris had out-qualified his teammate for only the third time on Saturday. 

However, Norris, who radioed in to express that he was faster, was pitted before Piastri, giving him the advantage of the undercut to secure a higher position.

Stella revealed that he intends to have discussions with both drivers to determine if Norris being given the preferential strategy played a significant role in the collision. 

He emphasised that drivers should never prioritise their personal prospects over the team’s success. 

“If the contact is due to the fact that there was pressure because of the undercut, then we have something to review. 

“Because it means drivers put their team at risk because of affirming themselves. 

“This is not acceptable,” Stella declared.

Despite the incident, Stella clarified that McLaren would not impose restrictions on the drivers’ ability to race each other in the future. 

He cited the exciting battle between the Ferrari drivers during the race as an example of the type of racing that fans want to witness. 

Stella concluded, “My role is to give them principles and a clear parameter within which they can race. 

“This is what we want to see – it is exciting to see like the Ferraris today. 

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“In terms of how you stay within the parameter, it’s not for us to say because we are not the drivers. 

“It’s actually within them to have the skillset to say, ‘the tires are a bit cold, maybe I need to take more margin.’ 

“They need to appreciate that there is no way the line should be crossed.”