McLaren team boss Andrea Stella has said he’ll have no trouble reining in his drivers if he feels they drive beyond the limits of fairness.

The ongoing war of words between McLaren and Red Bull hardly cooled on Saturday at Silverstone, with both CEO Zak Brown and team boss Andrea Stella commenting on how they believe Red Bull hasn’t done enough to ensure Max Verstappen always races within the limits of the regulations.

Andrea Stella: McLaren won’t back drivers at all costs

Speaking to media, including PlanetF1.com, on Saturday morning, Brown spoke about how McLaren is eager to ensure that its ongoing battle with Red Bull remains fair and doesn’t stray into the gray areas of the regulations as the team felt had occurred during last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen and Lando Norris collided while fighting over the lead of the race at the Red Bull Ring, with Norris’ puncture forcing a retirement while Verstappen straggled home in fifth after fitting new tyres and taking a 10-second time penalty after being found at fault for the clash.

The incident sparked a big backlash against Verstappen and Red Bull‘s approach to racing, particularly regarding Verstappen’s strenuous defence, with Brown outlining how he felt Red Bull races with a lack of respect for the regulations as he spoke to media on Friday, pointing to incidents like its 2021 budget cap breach as well as Red Bull telling Verstappen over team radio that he had done nothing wrong during the Austria encounter.

Brown then said on Saturday that he was not prepared to bring McLaren down the route of a ‘win-at-all-costs’ approach that he believes Red Bull has employed.

“We’re prepared to go toe to toe. Nasty is not how McLaren goes racing,” he said.

“But I think you can go toe to toe but you don’t have to be nasty about it.

“They seem to, at times, have a win-at-all-costs mentality. That’s not how we go racing. But we think you can go toe to toe and take the fight in our own way.”

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Andrea Stella was asked for his thoughts on Brown’s comments on Saturday evening, including whether or not he has moved to instill values within Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri in line with this desire to always race within what the team feels are acceptable sporting limits.

“We want to make sure that we race within the regulations and in a respectful way,” he said.

“It’s always tough when you are on track, but I think it’s pretty clear what you are supposed to do.

“So, for us as a team, we want to make sure that this is applied by our drivers and, if we see that our drivers go outside this range – which is the correct range to be within – then we will definitely help our drivers understand that that was not right rather than back them up at all costs.”

Stella re-iterated his response from Austria, saying that he and McLaren continue to have huge amounts of respect for their rivals as the Woking-based team seeks to topple Red Bull. McLaren, which hasn’t won a title since 2008, trails Red Bull by just over 60 points and, with Red Bull struggling for strong points scores while Sergio Perez’s sporadic form continues, could yet close the gap on the reigning Constructors’ Champions.

“I said we have so much respect for Red Bull, so much respect for Max, they don’t need to do that,” Stella said.

“That was my comment, my comment still stands. After that, I focus on how we go racing. I would like to think that we just want to get what we deserve.”

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