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Norris backs tough choices McLaren F1 team had to make

Lando Norris has backed the changes to the McLaren Formula 1 team’s technical structure, noting that sometimes bosses have to take “cold-hearted” decisions.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

A review conducted by team principal Andrea Stella at the request of CEO Zak Brown has led to the departure of erstwhile McLaren technical director James Key.

The team is introducing a new structure headed by three technical directors, namely Peter Prodromou (aerodynamics), Davide Sanchez (car concept and performance), and Neil Houldey (engineering and design).

Norris says he has complete faith in Stella and Brown, and backs any decisions they make, noting that changes were necessary as the team tries to work its way up the grid.

“I guess as the driver, and the person that's driving the thing affected by all of this is, I have just got to have the confidence and faith in the people who are running it,” said Norris when asked by Autosport about the changes.

“Which is Zak and Andrea, and I still have a lot of faith and belief in them.

“I guess Andrea is new to this, new to the role that he's in, but from the little time he's been there, personally, and I've not experienced many other people in that position or other teams or anything, but I believe he's extremely good.

“I must say I'm impressed. I rate Andrea very, very highly. I think a lot of people do, up and down the paddock.

“So I have a lot of faith in him, I think he's very good. So I have confidence in the changes and whatever the beliefs they have, I share those.

Norris has faith in the new staff put into place by top management at McLaren

Norris has faith in the new staff put into place by top management at McLaren

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

“It's clear that we've not done as good of a job as what we should have done as a team, or a team who should be championship contenders and top-step contenders.

“We're far from the level we need to be at to be able to achieve that. So some changes were made.”

Norris acknowledged that it isn’t always easy to make the sort of big calls that led to the departure of Key.

“I'm thankful I'm not in that position,” he said. “It's a very tough job to be in. I guess everyone has to make a decision at some point. Obviously, Zak has bosses too.

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“This is a business at the end of the day. [It's about] what's best for the business and not just maybe what looks the nicest.

“And sometimes you have to be a bit more cold-hearted. So it happens in every team, it isn't like it just happens at McLaren. It happens at every team up and down the grid.”

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