Lando Norris, McLaren, Monza, 2023

McLaren will review whether early Norris pit stop led to ‘unacceptable’ clash

2023 Italian Grand Prix

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McLaren’s drivers will be reminded they should never make contact with each other after the pair touched during today’s Italian Grand Prix.

Team principal Andrea Stella said they will review the contact which occurred after Oscar Piastri left the pits and touched the back of his team mate’s car at the first corner.

“It’s obviously not ideal,” said Piastri. “Fortunately we both were fine after. Of course the intention is never to get that close.”

Piastri had just come out of the pits after changing to hard tyres when the contact occurred. He had just lost a position to his teammate Lando Norris, who pitted before him, and therefore gained the benefit of running on fresh tyres earlier.

“I braked where I braked and I couldn’t really slow down much more than that,” Piastri explained. “I was at the limit of locking up and it was tight. In the end, nothing happened so I’m sure we’ll talk about it.”

Norris believed he left Piastri enough room to avoid contact. “I guess he was just on cold tyres or something, so he had a bit of understeer,” he said.

“I left enough of a gap, I think, but it’s impossible to see, it was very difficult to see in the mirror. I left a big gap.

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“But it’s just hard and cold tyres is not a nice combination, and I guess he just ran into my rear tyre, but nothing else.”

Monza, 2023
Poll: Vote for your 2023 Italian Grand Prix Driver of the Weekend
Stella made it clear the incident is not acceptable. “There should never, ever be a contact between two McLaren cars,” he said. “There was a contact, which doesn’t fit the way we go racing at McLaren.”

The team will discuss the incident with its two drivers. “It’s okay, you just review things like you do with anything that is technical, operational or racing.

“What is important is to have a clear parameter as to what you deem acceptable and what you deem not acceptable. It’s not an emotional thing, it’s just like you deal with other things, you deal with racing in a similar way. And this is very clear that for any driver, there’s something bigger than them. It’s the team.”

Stella said he will take another look at the incident before deciding whether either driver could have done more to avoid it.

“I need to review,” he said. “Like all things we’ll do it calmly, there’s nothing that we need to do urgently. So we will review, we take the adjustments that we need to take.”

He expects his drivers will also consider how they positioned their cars in the lead-up to the collision. “I’m sure even the drivers will calibrate themselves for a similar situation,” he said.

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“It’s always a little tricky when you leave the pit, especially on hard tyres. Certainly 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.

“So we could absolutely conclude that this is just a little misjudgement. Therefore it means there’s no problem at all.

“Both drivers race and they 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 on what we do and when drivers do that, it becomes very visible. But it’s just because they do something difficult and under the spotlight.”

McLaren will also consider whether the decision to pit Norris before Piastri had a bearing on the incident.

“If the contact is due to the fact that there was pressure because of the undercut and so on, then we have something to review. Because it means drivers put the team at risk because of affirming themselves, this is not acceptable.”

Stella explained the reasoning behind the team’s decision to bring Norris in first. “We pitted Lando before Oscar because Lando was the car that was most under pressure when Alonso pitted.

“It wasn’t clear as soon as Alonso would have cleared the AlphaTauri, how fast he would have been. So we wanted to make sure that we had two McLarens ahead of Alonso. So that’s why you go this kind of sequence.”

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2023 Italian Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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7 comments on “McLaren will review whether early Norris pit stop led to ‘unacceptable’ clash”

  1. I think Oscar probably probably just midjudged his breaking point out of frustation for being undercut by LN . I know OP is a rookie a but I think they should let him off the leash a bit more the rest of the season.

  2. Lando undercuts : 4 – 5 now??

    Oscar: 0

    Something is a-miss in this team.
    Lando complaining that hes faster than Oscar while unable to get within half a second of him for 30 odd laps…..
    Then when he gets the undercut, cannot pass Albon either…….

    1. George, you seem to be mistaken on both accounts – from what others have said, at most it would be twice that McLaren have given Norris an undercut relative to Piastri.

      Equally, McLaren have actually tried to give Piastri an undercut relative to Norris – they tried it during the British GP, only for their plans to be undermined by the fact that there was a safety car a couple of laps after Piastri pitted that left Norris in front.

  3. McLaren need to do better than just warn their drivers.

    This is the second time Norris has been moved ahead of Piastri via an undercut, (Hungary was the first time and was much more blatant).

    Its pretty clear from what followed after the undercut that Norris was not noticeably quicker than Oscar.

  4. Didn’t make a difference that Lando went in first – the issue was the 0.6s delta between the two pitstops. Prior to the stops Oscar was about 0.6s ahead of Lando – then Lando pit took 2.1 seconds and Oscar was 2.7s – hence the collision – I think Zak Brown should be asked why there was a collision – not the drivers !!
    Maybe it’s in Lando’s
    Contract to receive favourable team related tasks..???

  5. I think it’s quite obvious that McLaren gave once more the undercut to Norris to swap positions. Can be seen as logic since Lando is by far the most experienced driver ; but it goes against the F1 « standard » and it certainly does not go unoticed to Piastri

    So it’s seems also quite obvious that Oscar was happy to fight it and to send a message to the team. Contact was obviously not deliberate, but the result of 2 pilots going at it.

    Remember the comment from Zak Brown on Vandoorne stating he had been « too nice, not pushing enough the team towards his own needs ». Well, they got what they want with Oscar…

    So yeah, on top of the classic reminder to drivers, Stella also has to revised how they see the relationship between their drivers and prepare for more competition bw them.

  6. I guess Webber is having his say also on the matter if he feels Oscar is not getting a fair deal.

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