But the team received a major boost with the introduction of a major upgrade to Norris' car, as he catapulted up the order to finish fourth during the race.
The rest of the season saw the MCL60 go from strength to strength, with Norris and Piastri recording numerous podium finishes – with the latter even claiming a race win during the Qatar Grand Prix Sprint.
Yet according to Stella, the turning point of the season was not Norris securing P4 in Austria, but the first handful of laps he did during FP1 in Spielberg.
Stella: Austria FP1 was catalyst for revival
“Difficult to mention one in particular,” Stella told KTM Summer Grill when asked for his most noteworthy moment from last season.
“I just go by instinct and feeling in trying to answer your question, and as I do so, what comes to my mind, almost in a visual way, is the early laps in Austria.
“We had, in Free Practice 1, Lando was in the new car and Oscar was in the previous car, and I could see in telemetry that Lando, thanks to the new car, he was able to carry quite a lot more speed in the corners.
“I remember thinking to myself: ‘This looks good’.
“So that was a good memory, good feelings which, thankfully, was confirmed by lap time and it was confirmed then by results.”
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