Andrea Stella insists Max Verstappen stance ‘not personal’ but doubles-down

McLaren's Andrea Stella has doubled down on his take about Max Verstappen's driving in his battle with Lando Norris.

Andrea Stella (ITA) McLaren Team Principal. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada,
Andrea Stella (ITA) McLaren Team Principal. Formula 1 World Championship,…

McLaren F1 team principal Andrea Stella has doubled down on his views about Max Verstappen’s overly-aggressive driving against Lando Norris in the Austrian Grand Prix but insists his stance is not “personal”.

Verstappen and Norris came to blows while battling for the lead in the closing stages of last weekend’s race at the Red Bull Ring, ruining their respective shots at victory and opening the door for Mercedes’ George Russell to claim an unlikely win.

After the contentious finish, Stella suggested that Verstappen’s approach to racing Norris was a consequence of the Dutchman not being more severely punished for several controversial flashpoints with seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton during their epic 2021 title battle.

While Verstappen and Norris have moved to prevent the duel from escalating and impacting their friendship off-track, Stella remains convinced that the Red Bull driver was in the wrong.

“There are different things to consider,” Stella told Sky Sports F1. “The first is that Lando needs to drive, he needs to move on. If he stays with the head from one week ago, he won’t do a good job at Silverstone.

“The car is competitive and we want to capitalise so Lando is looking forward, and we support his point of view.

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB20 leads Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL38, both with punctures after colliding.
Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB20 leads Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren…

“The second consideration is that; at no point is this a personal matter. There is no attempt to polarise the views.

“But, for me, there is data, videos, facts, analysis, GPS data which we spent a lot of time trying to confirm our initial opinions. I have to say that our initial opinions were confirmed.”

Asked if Verstappen turned in on Norris under braking, Stella said: "Yes, definitely. If these manoeuvres were addressed immediately with a warning, there would have been no escalation. This is clear to the stewards.

"Now is the time to move on, learn as much as possible, put Formula 1 in a better position in terms of enforcing the regulations.”

Stella said McLaren have not reached out to Red Bull following the incident and have instead sought clarification from F1’s governing body the FIA.

“Our counterparts in this conversation is actually the FIA,” Stella said. “There is nothing personal, we have respect for Red Bull and Max, and what they have achieved.

“We sought clarification and were satisfied with the answers from the stewards and the FIA.”

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