McLaren realistic after Australian adventure
By Ian Parkes
Wednesday 5th April, 2023 - 10:03pm
Andrea Stella is refusing to get carried away with McLaren’s result in the Australian Grand Prix despite the importance attached to the crucial points that were scored.
For the first time since 2019, McLaren emerged from the first two races of a season without a point, as a result of a number of factors, some unfortunate, others of its own making.
In the opening race in Bahrain, Oscar Piastri retired early on with an electrical issue, whilst Norris was forced into the pits on numerous occasions due to a pneumatic leak.
A fortnight later in Saudi Arabia, from eighth on the grid, Piastri was involved in an early collision with Alpine’s Pierre Gasly that forced him into the pits at the end of a lap one for a new front wing.
Following behind, Norris ran over the debris off Piastri’s MCL60 which damaged his own front wing, leading to a change of his own after two laps. With their races compromised, they finished 15th and 17th.
Despite the chaos that unfolded throughout the race at Melbourne’s Albert Park, and through three restarts, Norris and Piastri managed to stay out of trouble to allow them to take the chequered flag in sixth and eighth positions.
With 12 points on the board, McLaren managed to leapfrog its way from last to fifth in the constructors’ standings.
Wary team boss Stella, however, said: “We don’t get carried away. We know it was a very eventful race.
“But it’s good to score points after having some difficult races at the start of the season in which we were in a condition to score points, but for various issues, we couldn’t.
“So it’s good now to come out of these first few races with some good points.”
Piastri romanticism with first points in Melbourne
Despite the concerns of many, Stella said he was “comfortable” with the red flags that followed the incidents involving Williams’ Alex Albon early in the race, and that of Haas’ Kevin Magnussen four laps from the finish.
With Norris and Piastri avoiding the carnage that unfolded at the restart after the Magnussen incident, Stella felt there was an element of charm that allowed the Australian to break his points duck on home soil.
“In this engineering and racing world, for once we want to have a romantic world, so I’m happy that he’s scored his first points in Melbourne,” remarked Stella.
Overall, though, it was more important for the team to get off the mark, regardless of the circumstances in which those points arose.
“It’s important because it was an uncomfortable position to have not scored points, and it’s important because ultimately P5, at least, is what we are racing for this season,” said the Italian.
“At the same time, we don’t get carried away, as I said. We know that we scored 12 points in particular circumstances, and if we don’t improve the car, we are not going to stay in P5.
“I would like to say that this result has to be converted by the 700 people that work trackside and in Woking into even further energy to develop the car and score regularly, thanks to having a great car.”
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