McLaren provided Lando Norris all of the information it had towards the end of the Russian Grand Prix and needs to analyze if it should have overruled its driver, according to team principal Andreas Seidl.
Norris was leading for the majority of the race and looked set to hold Lewis Hamilton off to take his first Formula 1 win when rain started falling over the final six laps of the race. While Hamilton opted to pit for intermediates with three laps to go — ignoring the initial call from Mercedes before being told again to stop — Norris chose to stay out on slick tires and eventually dropped to seventh after pitting one lap too late.
“As always in these tricky situations, it’s a communication between the driver and the pit wall, using all the information we have — in terms of weather forecast, in terms of what other cars are doing — trying to brief Lando,” Seidl said. “At the same time, get feedback from Lando on how the track conditions are. I’d say that’s how the decision was made on what to do, to pit or not.
“Lando, with the information he had from us and the feeling he had on track, he felt good staying out there on the slick tires, and in the end we didn’t overrule him as a team. So that’s something we need to look into, to see what we could have done better, because of course in hindsight it was the wrong decision we made as a team.
“But we win together, we lose together. The important thing is to analyze it, to learn from it, and then move on. At the same time, I think we have seen a lot of positives this weekend. Lando has done a sensational job all weekend, he did a sensational race. Unfortunately, it did not end up (as) the result he would have deserved at the end of such a weekend. But, up until the last three laps it was actually a pretty good weekend for us!”
Head high, my time will come pic.twitter.com/Z7YUm7w8BD
— Lando Norris (@LandoNorris) September 27, 2021
While hindsight allows McLaren to now know it was the wrong call, Seidl says the team has to look into whether it had enough certain knowledge to make a different decision at the specific moments Norris should have pitted.
“That’s exactly what we have to analyze now in detail – what information was available and what we did with it. That’s always the case that you have to do after such a situation in a race. As a team, together with Lando, we didn’t get it right in hindsight compared to some other teams that got it right, and that’s why we’re disappointed. There was more possible, and that’s what we need to analyze and learn from.”