Andrea Stella, McLaren’s Team Principal, views the growing interest in Lando Norris from competing F1 teams, particularly Red Bull, as “natural.”
Red Bull’s influential figure Dr. Helmut Marko has subtly suggested that he’s eyeing Norris, a 23-year-old British standout. Max Verstappen, who is notably friends with Norris, also hinted that Norris’s ongoing contract with McLaren might be the only factor preventing a future shift.
“It’s natural,” Stella told the Corriere della Sera newspaper in relation to the swirling rumors. “If I was in another team I would try to understand how to get him as well. What we want to do is prevent that from happening to us.”
Stella, who kicked off his F1 career engineering for the likes of Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen, and Fernando Alonso, moved to McLaren in 2015 and took over as team boss this year. He appreciates the latitude given to him by McLaren CEO Zak Brown. “He leaves me a lot of space. He is always as reachable as I am to him,” Stella said.
As McLaren emerges as a formidable contender, currently seen by many as Red Bull’s closest rival, Stella acknowledged the prowess of Max Verstappen and his team. “It’s not enough just to have the best car. They win because they’re the best in every area – including the driver,” he said.
Discussing McLaren’s ambitions, Stella articulated, “In this second part of the season we must confirm our progress. For next year we would like to be regularly among the top three and in 2025 we are aiming for victories.”
And when it comes to what Stella would change about the modern landscape of Formula 1, he didn’t hesitate. “I’d like it to be more equal,” he said. “Perhaps we need to look at the budget cap in a bit more depth.”