Norris typically partners with his race engineer, Will Joseph, during McLaren races. However, there have been instances where Joseph has switched roles with Norris’ performance engineer, Jose Manuel Lopez, during certain sessions throughout the recent race weekends.
When asked about the plan behind rotating race engineers, which is not that common across the grid, team principal Andrea Stella says the team wants to build enough cover for an exhausting 24-race calendar next year, while also raising the general experience level of Woking’s core group of engineers.
Stella clarified that the reason for having a team of engineers supporting each driver, instead of the usual two or three, is to pursue multiple objectives.
The initial point is that we have a total of 24 races, and it begins to pose a difficulty, even on a personal level, to ensure that all the races are attended.
“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.”
Without delving into the details of individual engineers, I am extremely satisfied with how this process is resulting in a highly skilled group of engineers who can effectively communicate with the drivers.
Lopez has served as Norris’ performance engineer starting in 2020, establishing a strong bond with his driver. Before joining Norris, Lopez worked for Haas in the Formula 1 industry.
Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60
Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images
Stella suggests that the reason for the change is not only increased flexibility, but also enhanced communication among the engineers. By adopting different perspectives during sessions, engineers are able to grasp new subtleties and gain a deeper understanding of each other’s requirements.
“I cannot reword”
“There are many aspects of race engineering that one must become accustomed to, which is why you observe a significant amount of rotation. Our objective is to provide all engineers with extensive experience, hence the frequent changes. I am extremely satisfied with the outcomes we are witnessing.”
Stella explained that Norris is content and motivated to develop his own team of engineers, as they play a crucial role in helping him perform well and achieve long-term success.
The driver is not only passively involved in this process, but rather actively leading it, and Lando is performing that role excellently.