This is why you remember McLaren’s new boss Andrea Stella
On Tuesday McLaren announced the selection of Andrea Stella as the new team boss to replace Andreas Seidl. In recent years, Stella has played an important role in the Woking team, but always away from the limelight. However, many of you will remember a role in which he drew much more attention: he was Fernando Alonso’s track engineer at Ferrari. GPBlog picked some memorable moments from this collaboration, which took place over the team radio.
“I do not want to know”
After the Stella Alonso duo made their debut in Bahrain, they headed to the 2010 Australian Grand Prix. The Spaniard won the first race but was lured into a comeback race by a contact at the start of the second race of the season. Ferrari managed to put him in a good position with a one-stop strategy, but the drivers behind him had fresh tyres, most notably Hamilton just behind him.
The Brit drew ever closer and Andrea Stella began to convey the gap to Alonso – still in English, not Italian as will be in later years – and the Spaniard, hearing “Hamilton 3.5, 3.5…” replies, ‘OK. I don’t want to know.” A very Kimi Raikkonen-esque move.
“You Do Your Best”
The 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is still an open sore for Ferrari fans. Alonso arrived at the venue eight points clear of Webber, 15 over Vettel and 24 over Hamilton. With that, Ferrari made the mistake of focusing on Webber’s race despite Sebastian Vettel leading. After the pit stops, Alonso was ahead of Webber, following Ferrari’s strategy and as emphasized by Stella “Webber lost a lot of time behind Alguersuari, now we are concentrating on ourselves”.
However, Alonso is stuck several laps behind the slower Petrov and is losing more and more time to the lead of the race, which also includes Vettel. So Andrea Stella tries to comfort the Spaniard and tells him: “OK I know and I see you’re doing your best but it’s really hard to overtake him.”. Then, as the standoff continues, he reminds him: “Use all your talent, we know how great it is, use it”. Unfortunately, those efforts were not rewarded and the 2010 World Championship went to Vettel.
In 2012, Alonso entered his third season at Ferrari, still chasing the world title. At this year’s European Grand Prix, held in Valencia, the Spaniard was forced to recover from his 11th place on the grid. Thanks to an excellent pit stop and a bit of luck, he managed to take the lead in the race and didn’t let go until the finish line.
It is therefore a home win for Alonso, who cannot believe his joy. Andrea Stella opens the radio at the end of the race and exclaims: “Gionata fantastic!”, and Alonso responds with several screams of joy and audible emotion, to which Stella responds with another laugh. It’s Alonso’s second win of the season, but not even on that occasion does he win the world title.
“You are fools”
Alonso arrives at the 2013 Italian Grand Prix at a standings disadvantage over title rival Sebastian Vettel. In Q3 of qualifying at Monza, Ferrari tried to exploit the slipstream between Massa and Alonso to improve the Spaniard’s time, but the two are too far apart for that. Alonso’s frustration is already great and was also great in the previous races.
At one point from the pits, Stella asks his driver to let Rosberg pass during the lead lap. At this point, the Asturian loses patience and explodes: “So you have to let him pass? You are really stupid! Mamma Mia boys!’. On the other end of the radio sits Andrea Stella, helplessly watching Alonso’s tirades.
“Mickey Mouse Chicane”
To conclude, an episode in which Fernando Alonso is just an uninterested spectator, but which deserves to be included. We’re in Singapore in 2012, a race where Alonso is ahead of Vettel in the world championship. The race would later end in the German’s victory himself, with Alonso right behind him.
However, what interests us is the amusing moment when Andrea Stella turns on the radio. The engineer from Orvieto begins to describe all the curves that his driver takes to have an audio reference. As Alonso passes Turn 10 after a very serious series of corner numbers, Stella names the next section with an ironic comment “Mickey Mouse Chicane”which is also often used by fans to talk about turns 11 and 12 of the Marina Bay circuit.