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How McLaren avoided 'stressful' situation between its drivers

The team wanted to avoid a repeat of what happened when its drivers came together on track at Suzuka.

Norris Piastri Japan
To news overview © XPBimages

McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella said the team wanted to avoid creating a "stressful" situation with its Japanese Grand Prix strategy.

The team elected to swap Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris who were on different tyre strategies midway through the race, to avoid losing time to George Russell on the one-stop strategy.

Norris spent a few laps behind Piastri before the team instructed the Australian to move over for his teammate, so they could eventually secure their podium without worrying about any threat from Mercedes or Ferrari.

It was a contrast to thei scenario in Monza, where Norris lost time behind Piastri and eventually ended up not passing Alex Albon due to the Williams superior straight-line advantage.

The team was also under the spotlight after the Hungarian GP, when it appeared they gave Norris a better strategy by allowing him to make use of the undercut to overtake Piastri.

Stella: We wanted to see if the overtake could come naturally

"It [Japan] was much easier than those situations. Those two situations were stressful - especially the one in Monza," Stella told media, including RacingNews365.

"When I say stressful, I mean we created stress between our two drivers which we could have avoided. That's something that we reviewed, it may happen again in the future, but when it is avoidable we should avoid it.

"In this case, the approach was let's see how fast Lando is closing let's see if the overtaking comes naturally.

"When we saw that it doesn't come so natural, then we asked the drivers to swap so that we wouldn't lose race time for both."

Stella said he would prefer drivers to overtake "naturally" on track, having previously stated that he would not object to them racing.

"If the overtaking comes naturally, there's no need to instruct the drivers. So we wanted to see if that was possible.

"But to be honest from 'Let's see if it happens naturally' to instructing, there was only one lap. I thought it was as fair as we could be."

F1 2023 Japanese Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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