Explained: Why McLaren have been rotating Norris’ race engineer

McLaren have explained the reason for the rotation of Lando Norris’ F1 race engineers in recent races. 
Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren with Jose Manuel Lopez Garcia (ESP) McLaren Lead Performance Engineer and Zak Brown (USA) McLaren
Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren with Jose Manuel Lopez Garcia (ESP) McLaren…

Will Joseph is Norris’ usual race engineer, having worked with the Brit ever since he made his F1 debut with the Woking outfit in 2019. 

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However, in several sessions across the previous few races, a new voice has been heard speaking to Norris over the radio, with Joseph revolving the role with Jose Manuel Lopez, who is Norris’ performance engineer. 

Race engineers play a crucial role and often form strong relationships with their driver over a long period of time, with famous examples including Lewis Hamilton and Peter ‘Bono’ Bonnington, and Max Verstappen and ‘GP’ - Gianpiero Lambiase.

So why have McLaren been swapping Norris’ engineers?

Team principal Andrea Stella, who previously worked as a performance and race engineer for the likes of Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso, said that the gruelling F1 schedule was partly behind the decision.

"The reason why you see there's a group of engineers supporting each driver rather than the classic two or three engineers is because we want to attack a couple of objectives," Stella explained.

Explained: Why McLaren have been rotating Norris’ race engineer

"The first one is that we have 24 races and it starts to become a challenge, even at a personal level, to make sure you can cover all the races.

"This is in terms of planning but this is also in terms of what happens if we have an emergency and we need to substitute one of the race engineers, so we want to create kind of a long bench or a long group of people that can support the driver.

"I'm very pleased without going into the specifics of one engineer or the other, I'm very pleased with how this process is leading to a very competent group of engineers that can interact with the drivers.”

Stella said that Norris has been supportive of the rotation. 

"Lando is happy and it's in his own interest to grow his own engineers, because these are the guys that need to get him to go quick and achieve future success,” he added. 

"A driver is not just on the receiving end in this process, he's actually on the leading end and Lando is doing that very well."

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