Stella hopes the new McLaren duo will open “their box of secrets” and share information, as the arrival of Daniel Ricciardo promises a good partnership, although he believes it won’t be the same and will require the team to manage things differently. Norris and Sainz were teammates since 2018 and they quickly formed a good partnership with each other, despite Sainz being older and more experienced in F1 than Norris. Their performance in 2020 played a big role in bringing the team back to 3rd place in constructors championship, along the incredible work of the rest of the team to make it happen.
In a Q&A with Stella, he said: "Carlos and Lando have been excellent this year. The level of collaboration between the two of them has been incredibly high. It's one of the reasons they are so evenly matched on track. When there is an open and transparent dialogue between team mates, it elevates their performance because they can crosscheck with each other and quickly identify the weak points of the car or find the best approach to a corner. This has been possible due to the personal qualities of Carlos and Lando, and, I hope, the environment we have built within the team which encourages openness and trust.”
He added: “It means the drivers feel comfortable opening their box of secrets, rather than keeping that box closed so as not to give away any advantage to their teammate.”
When asked about the arrival of Ricciardo and his possible impact on the team, he said: "He's proven that he's one of the best out there. The most important thing from my point of view is that we preserve the conditions that we created to allow that high level of collaboration between Carlos and Lando. But it's not just about preserving those conditions, we may have to adapt them. Daniel is not Carlos and his relationship with Lando will be different.”
He added: ”It may be similar, but it will not be the same and we need to be mindful of that and adapt with a view to maintain the standards.”
The technical director of McLaren James Key, who knows Ricciardo from his early days at Toro Rosso expects him to be much stronger in the McLaren car than back in the day. As he said: "He's an excellent driver to work with. He will have accumulated plenty of experience and knowledge since I last worked with him, so I expect he'll be several steps ahead of where he was back then in terms of what he'll bring to the team. He arrives as a proven race winner and is someone who can go toe-to-toe with the very best drivers. Daniel is very easy to get on with, but he's hugely determined and that has a positive effect on any team.”
He added: ”He will be a great reference point for us and, together with Lando, we will have one of the strongest driver pairings in the paddock.”