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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Published: 04/09/2023
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