McLaren’s team principal Andrea Stella has confirmed the team are supporting Lando Norris in managing his persistent back issues.
During the recent Italian Grand Prix weekend at Monza, Lando Norris took many by surprise when he disclosed that he had been grappling with back pain since the introduction of new aerodynamic regulations at the beginning of the previous season, which significantly stiffened the cars.
The changes were a response to the violent porpoising, where the ground-effect cars would bounce vigorously at high speeds, a phenomenon that several drivers encountered last year.
It was widely anticipated that with the elimination of porpoising, driver comfort would return to a certain degree.
However, this wasn’t the case for Norris, who has endured what he described as “a lot of issues over the last 12 months.”
McLaren has actively contributed to addressing Norris’s discomfort by crafting multiple customised seats to enhance his comfort in the car.
Additionally, Norris has enlisted the assistance of a physiotherapist and made lifestyle adjustments, including reducing his engagement in golf, a cherished pastime away from the racetrack.
When questioned by reporters about McLaren’s approach to mitigating Norris’s back problems in the future, Stella remarked, “We’re closely monitoring this situation with Lando.”
Stella continued, “Some improvements will have to come, as he explained himself, from his own understanding of what his body requires in terms of conditioning and how he needs to sit in the car to be comfortable and avoid all these kinds of issues.
From our side, there are quite a lot of variables that we can play with, but we need to know exactly where we have to put our focus, so it’s really a work in progress.”
Stella emphasised that there won’t be a revolutionary change in Norris’s seating position, but rather an ongoing process of refinement.
He expressed hope, stating, “But at the moment, it looks like he seems to be getting better after a season.
“So we are hoping, in a way, this will gradually fix itself, thanks to the work Lando is also doing, and his adaptation in terms of lifestyle, which I know must be very, very painful for such a passionate golf player.”
Lando Norris himself recognises the importance of proactive measures and taking ownership of his well-being.
He acknowledged, “I would love to play more golf, but even with certain other things such as cycling and running, my back hurts.
“So I still can’t do everything like I would want to do.
“I am doing more training for my core, lower back, and glutes and things like that.”
While acknowledging individual variations in how drivers experience these issues, Norris emphasised the need to prioritise his health, saying, “I hope there aren’t any long-term effects, but a number of people have spoken up about it and said it.
“I know everyone’s different.
“Some people don’t, some people do.
“I guess for my own health, it’s something I need to look after.”