McLaren team principal Andrea Stella believes Lando Norris can be put on a similar level to Formula 1 greats such as Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso when it comes to discussing natural speed at the wheel.
The Briton has marked his 100th race with the team and in F1 at the 2023 United States Grand Prix, but is yet to taste victory with seven second place finishes to his name, his latest coming in Brazil, as well as three third places
Norris was Max Verstappen‘s closest challenger in both the Sprint and main Grand Prix at Interlagos, underlining his strong form in the second half of 2023.
“I think the ingredients for Lando to be able to succeed, like these drivers have been able to succeed, are coming together,” said Stella to the Beyond The Grid podcast.
“When it is about natural speed, I think Lando can compete with some of these big names like Michael Schumacher or Fernando Alonso.
“The real success factor is in making the race craft bigger and bigger, creating as much as possible adaptability, because you’re never going to have the perfect car. You’re never going to have the perfect situation.
“We want to succeed even when there’s a 50/50 probability to do that, then you want to make the difference through your continuous improvement, adaptability, understanding the situation better than your competitors, and gaining a competitive advantage.
“Definitely Lando is on a very strong path from this point of view, and I think the evidence is that as soon as we gave him a car that was able to compete for podiums, he just achieved it.”
Stella points out Norris attribute
Stella also gave an idea of what he felt made Norris so good as a driver, and highlighted one particular skill which he believes is common across the top drivers.
“First of all, Lando gives you the characteristic, like some other top drivers that I was lucky enough to work with, that their perception of time is zoomed in very much,” Stella said.
“He talks about what happens in half a second like it happened in one hour. The capacity to perceive and isolate all the little things that happen from his point of view as a driver, or from what’s happening with the car, is pretty impressive.”