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McLaren pair's clash "unacceptable", declares Stella


McLaren boss, Andrea Stella says "adjustments will be made" following clash between drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri.

Pitting for hards on Lap 23, Piastri rejoined just ahead of his British teammate, who had pitted the lap before. As they entered the first chicane the Australian ran wide and lightly touched his teammate's car which was on his outside, though neither incurred damage.

While the stewards felt no investigation of the incident was necessary, Stella was far from happy with his drivers' antics.

"There should never, ever be contact between two McLaren cars," said the Italian. "There was a contact, which doesn't fit the way we go racing at McLaren.

"What is important is to have clear parameters as to what you deem acceptable and what you deem unacceptable," he continued. "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."

However, Stella admits that Piastri may have been caught out be his cold tyres.

"I need to review," he said. "Like all things, we will do it calmly. There's nothing that we need to do urgently. We will make the adjustments that we need.

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

"But on colder tyres, this could be slightly more difficult than he might have anticipated," he admitted. "We could absolutely conclude that this is just a little misjudgement.

"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."

However, some feel that McLaren's decision to allow Norris to undercut his teammate hardly helped the situation, Piastri having been ahead of the Briton since the start of the race.

"If the contact is due to the fact that there was pressure because of the undercut, then we have something to review," said Stella. "Because it means drivers put their team at risk because of affirming themselves. This is not acceptable."

Ironically, Stella' attitude is in stark contrast to the situation at Ferrari, where Frederic Vasseur - to the delight of all racing fans - allowed his drivers to go at it hammer and tongs.

"My role is to give them principles and a clear parameter within which they can race," said the Italian. "This is what we want to see... it is exciting to see like the Ferraris today.

"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 skill-set to say, ‘the tyres 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."

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1. Posted by kenji, 06/09/2023 13:16

"One comment I read today on another website, which is quite responsible, quoted Stella as saying, 'they are free to race'!!! If they are free to race then why did Norris refer back to the pits that he was faster than Oscar and tell him to speed up? If they are free to race why didn't Norris just pass Piastri? My BS meter is beeping madly here....."

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2. Posted by kenji, 06/09/2023 1:34

"@Team Hack Unless I've read it all wrong, comments emerged yesterday that Stella was concerned that Norris's position was under threat by Alonso if he chose the undercut. At that stage Norris and Piastri were separated by 1 sec +/-. By giving the priority to Norris meant that they, by extrapolation, considered Piasti's position expendable! Norris struggled to gain ground from Piastri and it showed. To gloss over it as Stella has done is disloyal to Piastri. In Hungary Zak Brown was questioned by the media as to why they did the exact same thing to Piastri and he was unable to give a truthful/believable response. So when does Norris protection racket stop? Hopefully Mark has opened up a dialogue with RB as Piastri's future will be stiffed if he stays at McLaren."

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3. Posted by Team Hack, 05/09/2023 18:01

"It was only a week or so ago we were told we can't have scripted or orchestrated races but it's now ok to drive exactly as preordained by the team manager.
Stella will not stop Norris and Piastri from racing each other, that's the name of the game after all.
On a personal note I would love to see Piastri as Verstappens team mate.
Step right up folks fireworks this way ....!"

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4. Posted by kenji, 05/09/2023 1:40

"@Mad Matt....Thanks for the response. Whilst you say that you didn't notice Piastri making any specific complaints after the race watch the 'pen' interview again. How can someone so young exhibit such 'diplomacy' after receiving the rough end of the 'pineapple' for the third time? I am not Robinson Crusoe on this. There are lots of sites and lots of people who also have taken note the exposure of the 'favoured' treatment being meted out to Norris. Why would this be so? Brown et al have been publically annointing Norris as a certain WDC for some time now. To have a rookie come in and show possibly greater promise rather makes their predictions somewhat precarious. I've followed Piastri's career in depth for quite a few years and his talent has been on exhibit for all to see. Zak Brown is walking a tightrope here and Oscar/Mark Webber will be right onto it....hopefully. Singapore will be interesting....."

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5. Posted by kenji, 05/09/2023 1:26

"@ Defiant.....I admit to carrying a certain level of bias towards Piastri, so guilty as charged your honour.As for Hamilton, well that's another story.His apology and comments are there to deflect criticism which was eventually seen through by the stewards. He got off too lightly after wrecking Piastri's race. The entire incident though with Norris was an exercise in protection for Norris. They were around one second apart before the undercut and less than that after Piastri rentered the track after his pitstop. All, that was achieved, despite a 6 tenths slower pitstop, was they were almost dead level going into T1!! So what was achieved other than the 'switcheroo' to favour Norris. The balance of the race would've had a different outcome had they pitted Piastri first...IMO. We'll never know of course but this is not the first time Norris has got the 'golden child' treatment. I don't know if you saw the post race interviews but Piastri appeared, unusually, to be choosing his words very carefully and seemed to be very upset. Stella on the other hand seems to be on the Lando Bus and that is grossly unfair IMO. "

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6. Posted by Defiant, 04/09/2023 16:35

"I think Stella should zip it. (urgh this hurts to type) Ferrari and particularly Fred handled things better.

Drivers SHOULD be able to fight each other. Yes teams matter, but it should be up to the driver if they actually yield or not. You can ask, obviously, but I don't think it should be mandatory.

I think Oscar misjudged his tyres, this could've been bad, but it wasn't, it was an error yes, but all drivers make mistakes in the heat of the moment. I think Oscar has been one of the highlights of the year along with the resurgence of the team and would expect nothing more than a gentle reminder of getting to the end is the most important thing as that's where the points are waiting.
@kenji, I think your Aussie bias and anti Lewis sentiment is bleeding out of you profusely here."

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7. Posted by Mad Matt, 04/09/2023 11:58

"I didn't really see it that way. Lando was allowed the undercut and the justification seems to have been his pace and the threat from Frernando. I didn't hear Oscar complain or even mention that after the race... although I was surprised at the time...

As for the turn 1 "touching" it seemed to me to be more Oscar not giving Lando space... but I haven't reviewed it inch by inch so I'd be happy to say 50/50 and again neither Lando nor Oscar seemed to make a big deal about it after the race.

I was a bit more surprised that Lewis only got a 5 second penalty for pushing Oscar off in what could have ended very badly for them both. I appreciate that Lewis apologised afterwards and it clearly wasn't deliberate but 5 seconds still seems very lenient."

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8. Posted by kenji, 04/09/2023 7:10

"" and after the undercut was completed what were the relevant track positions" ? Simply reverse order but this time with Hamilton closing on Piastri instead of Norris He was sacrificed for the 'good of the team'. What a joke. Subsequent to that Hamilton then proceeded to wreck what was left of Piastri's day by wedging him in an ill prepared pass. Post race Stella then has the bald faced chutzpah to lay the blame on the corner one incident at Piastri's doorstep. The competetive pressures being brought to bear on Norris/Brown/Stella by Piastri are proving problematic for the team. Piastri needs to start looking for a ream that will support him rather than mouth future WDC platitudes whilst on track undermining him...."

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