Lando Norris agrees that he has spoken with Red Bull which Christian Horner confirms too, but the Brit re-signed with McLaren eventually.
Ahead of signing a new deal with McLaren, Norris revealed that he had held talks with Red Bull and Helmut Marko as was speculated in the media. Neither party denied the story at that moment but eventually it didn’t happen as the Brit re-signed a long-term deal with the Woking-based F1 outfit.
At Red Bull he would have had the chance to be at the front, but Norris states him re-signing with McLaren shows the confidence he has on them. “Of course there are conversations with other people from time to time,” he said in an interview to AMuS. “You always ask yourself: what is best for my career?”
“After all, I want to win and win world championships. There have been talks with Red Bull. They are a team that has been in the top three for years. But that just goes to show how much confidence I have in McLaren. Although there were talks, I felt McLaren was better for me to achieve my goals.”
Loyalty counts for a lot in F1. As it is, Ferrari and Red Bull are in a league of their own. Mercedes are getting there and could earn a win before the seasons out. But if Norris sees out his McLaren contract which he possibly will, he will have been there seven seasons from his debut. There is a big gap this season with McLaren to the top three teams.
For now Norris can’t directly answer about their chances, but he is playing the long game. “I can’t just answer yes or no,” he said. “I believe in us. We’ve reached a point where we have a better understanding of what we need to do. What direction we need to take and how to achieve our goals”.
“We also have a better understanding of why we haven’t taken as many steps forward as we wanted to over the past two years. Is it because of our vehicle philosophy? By design? At the wind tunnel? I hope our new one will help us for 2024 and 2025. I have to have faith that my team can do a good job.”
There is tremendous ambition with McLaren right now. There is a wind tunnel build in progress just now and the target is the 2024 and 2025 campaigns. A new simulator is also in the offing but as it is, these apparatuses will only be useful for the 2024 campaign and not 2023, but Norris feels the team will have no excuses by that time.
“I agree 100 percent,” said Norris. “This will be our first year in which we have no more excuses. At the moment we can still come up with good excuses. Believe me, nobody likes to say that we had the best possible weekend and that we’re behind for the reasons just mentioned. We always look at what we can do better.
“2024 will be the first year in which we operate with our infrastructure almost at the level of the top teams. The rest is then up to us, the people who work here.” Nobody can question the work ethic and ambition of Norris. It could take another season before he and McLaren can really match Ferrari and Red Bull. The patience of any driver would be called into question regarding that type of waiting game.
“Not at all,” started Norris. “I had to learn that first. Especially in Formula 1. Outside of that, I’m still impatient. I always want a certain performance, preferably right next weekend. But it’s not that fast. You have to learn that it could take a year or two longer. Sometimes even longer.”
Approaching the end of his fourth season in F1 and with McLaren, and on the back of signing his long term contract during last season, and still looking for his debut victory. “I’m super happy and comfortable,” said Norris. “I enjoy it at McLaren. I like working with the guys. I believe in you. If I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t have signed a long-term contract.
“My head looks ahead. My ideas are long term. We have to keep working. In 2024 and 2025 I will have my best chance with McLaren.” Norris may be super happy and comfortable and in a long term contract with McLaren. Contracted to 2025 with, if we use Sergio Perez as an example contracted to Red Bull until the end of 2024.
And speaking of Red Bull, team principal Horner confirmed that he had spoken with Norris but noted that whenever they spoke, he would go ahead and sign up with McLaren. “We’ve spoken to Lando a couple of times over the years, but every time we’ve had a conversation, the next day he’s signed a contract with McLaren. He’s on a long-term contract with McLaren, and it looks like he’s going to be there for a few more years.”
Here’s the full interview: https://www.auto-motor-und-sport.de/formel-1/lando-norris-f1-mclaren-interview-saison-2022/
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