For Stella, the Verstappen – Norris clash is the consequence of the 2021 season

Andrea Stella, senior manager of the McLaren team, says that Max Verstappen's defensive maneuver on Lando Norris in Austria stems in particular from the lack of sanction for the Dutchman at the time of his duel with Lewis Hamilton in 2021.

Published on 01/07/2024 à 14:29

Dorian Grangier

0 View comments)

For Stella, the Verstappen – Norris clash is the consequence of the 2021 season

© DPPI

At McLaren, the pill does not pass. Sunday, the Oranges came very close to a second victory in 2024 with a Lando Norris offensive and hungry during the Austrian Grand Prix, behind a Max Verstappen in difficulty after a disastrous pit stop. But this dream opportunity was annihilated when the two drivers made contact, seven laps from the finish.

The Briton, victim of a tear in his tire which seriously damaged his car, had to give up. The Dutchman was able to enter the pits and leave to finish in 5th place. The stewards found the reigning champion guilty of this incident, sanctioning him with a 10-second penalty applied at the finish.

A clash and inevitably, two different points of view on each side. At the house of Red Bull, Lando Norris is accused of being too aggressive with an attack “desperate”, due in particular to a 5-second penalty for not respecting track limits which required him to pass as quickly as possible. Christian Horner said that Lando Norris “did not behave properly” in his battle with Max Verstappen.

At McLaren, however, it's a completely different story. Andrea Stella does not share the opposing opinion at all and even believes that the supposed laxity of the stewards during the 2021 season – when Max Verstappen was fighting for the title against Lewis Hamilton – today pushes the Dutchman to maintain more than limited defenses.

Verstappen should not have scored points, says Stella

“I see that the entire world population knows who is responsible, with the exception of a group of people (Red Bull. Editor’s note), he explained. But the problem is, if you don't actually address these things, they will come back. They came back today because they weren't treated properly in the past, when there were fights with Lewis [Hamilton] that needed to be punished more severely. The fact is we have so much respect for Red Bull, so much respect for Max, that they don't need to do that. This is a way to compromise your reputation so why do it? »

The Team Principal of the McLaren team also regretted that the reigning champion's line changes, during braking phases, had not been sanctioned. “The regulations must be applied effectively, because when a car is out of the race, the punishment should be proportional to the result. And we had, before this episode, Verstappen who moved twice when braking” the Italian leader said indignantly.

A resentment which can be understood from an accounting point of view since despite Max Verstappen's guilt towards the race direction, the Red Bull driver was able to increase his lead in the championship with the 10 points for 5th place , when Lando Norris was unable to finish the race. The gap between the two men is now 81 points heading into the halfway point of the season.

ALSO READ > Verstappen-Norris or the birth of a rivalry

Dorian Grangier

A young journalist nostalgic for the motorsport of yesteryear. Raised on the exploits of Sébastien Loeb and Fernando Alonso.

0 View comments)