MONZA: McLaren say they have no problem with Lando Norris expressing his frustration and anger over the radio in the heat of battle, however much it may sting at the time for the Formula One team.
Norris, 23, was heard at last weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix asking his race engineer “Are you stupid?” after a slow response to an early downpour at Zandvoort that rewarded those who pitted immediately.
The Briton, who also complained publicly about strategy during the previous Belgian Grand Prix, told reporters at the Italian Grand Prix that he made himself “look like an idiot” but his team were used to his ways.
“A bit of it is just emotions at the time… I always sound like I’m crying or moaning on the radio. I don’t know why. I hate it,” he said.
“I feel like I’m really relaxed and chilled in the car, but then I’m always the opposite when I listen to myself afterwards.”
Team principal Andrea Stella told reporters Norris had been understandably frustrated to miss an opportunity because the pit wall misread the situation.
“So Lando was addressing it. This is what champions do. We like this character,” he said.
“You know, we want to be heavily challenged by the driver. And we can be heavily challenged because our culture is strong. We can bear with that, you know,” added the Italian.
“We’d rather have this kind of challenge than a passive driver that just takes everything, and doesn’t contribute to the development of the team. So for us this episode is not a problem at all.”
Stella said those on the outside should not read too much into the situation, or be “over-judgmental”.
“Actually, the review after Zandvoort has been very constructive,” he added.
Norris, who finished second in Britain and Hungary this season but has yet to win a grand prix, agreed that appearances could be deceptive.
“I’m not denying at times, and also in the past, when you’re under pressure it gets a bit stressful at times, then I maybe don’t sound the most relaxed,” said the driver, who has talked openly about mental health.
“But a lot of the time I am, and it maybe doesn’t come across that way, especially if you’re on the outside listening to things.
“The team know how I work, and when I’m performing well, and when I’m not… Simple as that.”
Former champions McLaren, celebrating their 60th anniversary, are fifth in the constructors’ standings after 13 of 22 races.
Norris has scored 75 of the team’s 111 points, more than twice as many as Australian rookie team mate Oscar Piastri.