McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella has supported Lando Norris amid concerns the British driver has regarding the strain put on his back by this latest generation of Formula 1 cars.
After decades of higher-rake F1 cars being used in the sport, 2022 saw the re-introduction of ground effect, an aerodynamic phenomenon that was first popularised in the late seventies and early eighties.
However, bouncing and chassis stiffness has been a constant battle with the modern ground-effect F1 cars, impacting not only car performance but the well-being of drivers.
“We are following this matter very closely with Lando,” Stella told Autosport.
“Some will have to come from his own understanding of what his body requires in terms of conditioning and in terms of how he needs to sit in the car to be comfortable and avoid this kind of issues.
“From our side, there’s quite a lot of variables that we can play with, but we need to know exactly where we have to put our focus, so it’s really a work in progress.
“There’s no revolution in the plan in terms of the seating position, how upright it will be.”
Norris has already made some changes – but while the situation for him has improved compared to 2022, the back problem persists.
“It was worse last year than it is this year,” he said.
“I’m playing a lot less golf just because of my back, doing more physio.
“Even track walks, as soon as I do a track walk, I struggle a lot.”
Norris isn’t the only driver to have struggled with discomfort in the current generation of F1 cars.
Last year in Azerbaijan, television viewers witnessed the difficulty Lewis Hamilton had climbing out of his Mercedes W13 after a bumpy afternoon on the Baku City Circuit.
The trade-off between driver comfort and ultimate car performance is as old as F1 itself and in the early days of the sport, the latter was favoured at the expense of the former.
But as safety continues to evolve and be at the forefront of the F1 collective consciousness, Norris and McLaren have another tough test of body and mind this weekend as F1 heads to the streets of Singapore.
With Norris sacrificing track walks and personal hobbies, Stella is empathetic.
“We are hoping in a way that this will gradually fix itself, thanks to the work that Lando is doing and his adaptation even in terms of lifestyle, which I know must be very, very painful for such a passionate golf player!”