McLaren Admits Major Strategy Error Costing Norris Dearly

Tuesday, 09 July 2024 at 16:00
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The McLaren team principal, Andrea Stella, admitted his team made a mistake in managing Lando Norris's race during the 2024 British Grand Prix.
As former F1 driver Martin Brundle outlined in his column for Sky Sports, there were four drivers with a shot of winning the 2024 British Grand Prix, and Lando Norris was one of them.
If we consider all track conditions, the McLaren drivers perhaps had the best overall pace, but the British team wasn't able to translate that into victory (again).
On lap 38, Norris was leading by about two seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton (who went on to win the Grand Prix), but the consequent decisions, including a late pit stop and the wrong choice of tires for the remainder of the race, destroyed the 24-year-old's chances of winning.
Speaking to the media after the race, McLaren's team principal, Andrea Stella, admitted his team made a mistake, mainly with the choice of tire compound for the last stint.

"I think going on soft wasn't the right call for us. In fact, we degraded the tires too much to be able to retain the position on Verstappen and Lewis. In fairness, Lewis did a really good job of making the soft tires last the entire stint."

"In those conditions we wanted to check with Lando what his preference was. The sense of asking with Lando and deciding with Lando was, 'Will it be tricky going on a C2 compound in these conditions?'"

The seven-time World Champion in the lead also had soft compound tires, but he didn't have a spare set of mediums like Norris did. He did have a spare set of hard compound tires, though.
As Toto Wolff (Mercedes team principal) said, it ultimately became clear that the medium compound would have been the best choice, and the hard compound was the second best option—as shown by Max Verstappen, who overtook the McLaren driver to take P2.
So, although Mercedes made a bit of a mistake as well, the German team managed to get away with it, as opposed to Norris, who lost out not only once by not catching Hamilton, but twice because he also lost the P2 to the Dutchman on Red Bull. Stella added:

"But in fairness, as a matter of fact, it wasn't that tricky because Verstappen, on a hard compound, managed the transition on the dry tires without big issues. We should have taken the responsibility to say the medium is just the right tire; we go for it."

"I think in checking with Lando, we kind of self-doubted, and this led us to follow this direction, which in hindsight wasn't correct."