Lando Norris’ concerns about the physical strain that the new generation Formula 1 cars have put on his back have been addressed by McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella, who has offered support to the British driver.
Following decades of using higher-rake F1 cars, the aerodynamic phenomena known as ground effect, which was first popularized in the late 1970s and early 1980s, was finally introduced back in 2022.
However, the new generation ground-effect F1 cars have always been at odds with bouncing and structural stiffness, which affects not only car performance but also the well-being of drivers.
“We are following this matter very closely with Lando,” Stella told Autosport. “Some will have to come from his own understanding of what his body requires in terms of conditioning and in terms of how he needs to sit in the car to be comfortable and avoid this kind of issues.
“From our side, there’s quite a lot of variables that we can play with, but we need to know exactly where we have to put our focus, so it’s really a work in progress.
“There’s no revolution in the plan in terms of the seating position, how upright it will be.”
Norris has made changes to a few things, but even if his situation is different from 2022, his back issue still remains.
“It was worse last year than it is this year,” the McLaren driver said. “I’m playing a lot less golf just because of my back, doing more physio.
“Even track walks, as soon as I do a track walk, I struggle a lot.”
Norris is not the only driver who has experienced discomfort in the most recent F1 cars. Azerbaijani television viewers saw Lewis Hamilton struggle to exit his Mercedes W13 after an unpleasant race experience on the Baku City Circuit last year.
It has always been a compromise between driver comfort and overall car performance, and in the early years of the sport, the latter was favored at the expense of the former.
But this weekend, when F1 moves to the streets of Singapore, Norris and McLaren will face another challenging test of body and mind as safety continues to advance and take center stage in the F1 community’s awareness.
Stella is sympathetic about Norris giving up track walks and personal interests.
“We are hoping in a way that this will gradually fix itself,” McLaren boss added. “Thanks to the work that Lando is doing and his adaptation even in terms of lifestyle, which I know must be very, very painful for such a passionate golf player.”