The Briton has revealed he previously turned down multiple approaches from Red Bull, while Helmut Marko, the Austrian camp’s advisor, named Norris as the ideal replacement for Sergio Perez come 2025.
When the long-standing interest of rival teams in Norris was put to Stella on Thursday in Suzuka, he responded: “Certainly to your list, I would add McLaren.
“We’re certainly having conversations with Lando,” he continued. “They are good conversations. We are happy with how these conversations are going.”
Stella acknowledges that the best way to convince Norris to stay put at McLaren will be to demonstrate the team is making continuous progress on the race track.
McLaren began the year struggling to score points, but the introduction of a heavily revised car in Austria has propelled the side into regular podium-scoring contention.
“In terms of getting the vote of confidence, we went back to the facts,” he continued. “Certainly we expressed our love, if you want, in terms of this human element.
“And also, if you allow me to say, as a team you kind of want mates to be with you in the journey, especially when the journey is so tough.
“But you also need to talk about facts. Like: what’s the foundation for the future [and] why you can give us your vote of confidence.
“So with Lando we are doing exactly the same [as with Piastri]: trying to prove as much as possible on track that what we say is realised and trying to create a sense that this is going to continue over the coming years.”
The Italian also claims he is against delivering unrealistic promises that McLaren would be unable to uphold, citing that he wants drivers to believe in the team’s journey.
He added: “I would be at discomfort myself having a conversation with a driver where I’m trying to persuade him, playing cards that I don’t have in my hands.
“I don’t want to find myself in a situation where a driver said, ‘Hey, you said this would have happened. It’s not happening. I don’t want to be in this position’.
“So my conversations, Zak’s [Brown, McLaren CEO] conversations are genuine assessments of facts to the best of our knowledge.
“We don’t need to buy people in; we want people to give us the vote of confidence to stay with us genuinely, truly believing in the journey together with McLaren.”
Stella insists that Piastri’s extension was not made with the 2026 regulation overhaul in mind and is certain that the Australian will drive alongside Norris for “a long time.”
“We didn’t make this kind of consideration [in] relation to 26, and we are optimistic that this pair of drivers will be the pair of drivers at McLaren for a long time,” he declared.