Awareness key to Lando Norris’s improvement

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Lando Norris’s 2020 season was a step-up on his rookie year, and Andrea Stella says that was largely due to his improved awareness.

The McLaren driver’s first year on the grid was impressive, but his second was even better as he claimed his first podium and pushed team-mate, Carlos Sainz, much harder, scoring eight points less after leading for much of the season.

Stella, the British team’s head of race operations, agrees that Norris improved in 2020, and puts it down largely to improved awareness while inside the car on the part of the driver, as well as his attitude outside of it.

“I think Lando is a really strong racer now,” he told Motorsport.

“I would like to add that occasionally, he has been affected by some technical problems. And Lando, one quality I really like about him is that he doesn’t cry. He doesn’t say: ‘I had this problem and this problem, and these are the problems. I’m the best in the world. But because of this problem, I couldn’t show I’m the best.’

“So we can definitely witness his growth as a racer. Also his consistency, capacity to stay on the targeted lap time, capacity to execute a certain stint duration to achieve the strategy that we plan, his tyre-management and so on. So that’s the main things that we have been able to witness in terms of growth.

Get your hands on the official McLaren 2020 collection via the Formula 1 store 

“He has more awareness of himself and more awareness of the car. With his natural honesty when he started with us, very often Lando was saying: ‘I’m not doing a good enough job there. I’m not that good in that corner.’ He was very much pointing at himself.

“So I think we helped him separate what is the car, and what is the driver. Very often the driver actually needs to be more demanding with the car rather than simply thinking I need to adapt, or I’m not doing a good enough job at the corner.

“So he has now more awareness of what should be the drivers’ contribution, and what should be the car performance. Then him being able to separate them means his feedback has become more accurate.”

Norris will need to continue to improve next season with seven-time race-winner Daniel Ricciardo joining the team pn place of Sainz, who is leaving for Ferrari.

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