McLaren switch Lando Norris’ race engineer

McLaren switch Lando Norris' race engineer

Lando Norris’ race engineer has been switched several times this season, McLaren confirmed as rotations are an integral part of the Woking team’s new race engineer strategy.

Will Joseph who is Lando Norris’s race engineer, is well-known to fans thanks to his radio comments. He has been working with the British driver since 2019, after having been a longtime worker at McLaren.

But in the most recent races, Jose Manuel Lopez’s voice has been heard over the radio. During a number of sessions during the last several rounds, Lopez has taken Joseph’s spot.

For an F1 squad, this is an unusual step. Relationships between race engineers and their drivers, like Gianpiero Lambiase and Max Verstappen, are intricate and lasting. They typically work together with a driver for a complete season as a result. However, rotations and swaps do happen, they often do so in the off-season to lessen the impact they have.

McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella gave an explanation on the choice to rotate engineers in an interview with Motorsport.com. He explained that the squad is aiming for a number of goals and that support is required to take on the 24-race schedule.

“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 said.

“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.

Stella confirmed the results have been positive: “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.”

The changes, according to McLaren’s Team Principal, include engineers who can communicate with other team members. Additionally, he acknowledged that engineers are developing their interdepartmental communication skills.

“It’s not all interacting with the drivers. It’s also for a race engineer, for instance, you need to interact with a strategist,” Stella added. “And you need to do it with the minimum amount of words, to communicate what you need to communicate, you need to understand each other in terms of terminology.

“So, there’s quite a lot that you need to get used to as part of race engineering, and that’s why you see so much rotation because we need to expose all the engineers to as much experience as possible.

“So, that’s the reason why we do it and I’m very pleased with what I see happening.”

“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.

“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.”

Significant adjustments have already been made at McLaren thanks to Stella. He has said that the team’s midseason turnaround was largely the result of a fresh approach of working.

Leave a Reply