McLaren’s Lando Norris discusses the “awkward” discussions on his contract renewal, leading the team, and more.
Norris recalls bringing up contract renewal to CEO Zak Brown for the first time over a dinner, pointing out that this was his first time asking to have a deal renewed. The Brit compared his discussion with Brown to a “guy talking to a girl for the first time,” highlighting his nerves.
“It was actually something I brought up when I went to dinner with Zak a while ago,” Norris revealed when speaking to media including FormulaRapida.net. “He was talking a little bit about the future and I was just like: ‘You know, about these future years, is it something we want to start talking about now?
“Is it something you want to talk about later in the season?’ Just because I don’t know when or how to bring it up, just like a guy talking to a girl for the first time, it was a bit awkward. I think at that time they already started talking about it as a team, between Zak and Andreas and so on. And it was something that I preferably wanted to get out the way as soon as possible.
“We then started talking about it and all flowed from that. It was just a bit of a weird one for me to bring up, because I’ve not necessarily been in that position before,” Norris said. The 21-year-old says he wants to make McLaren his home — a team he can lead for “many years” in the future. This, he explains, is his reason for signing the deal now.
Norris looks forward to “taking on more responsibility” in the team and becoming an integral part of it. “I want to be that kind of guy who can lead the team, who has been there for many years, who has helped them through the bad times and help them achieve the good times,” he said. “And that’s why I’m still here, that’s why I signed for some more years, because I want to be in that position.
“Even this year, I already took a step forward in that position. I’m feeling like a different and improved driver to the last couple seasons, taking on more responsibility and leading the team in more ways. So that’s definitely something I like, something I want to be able to do going into the future,” Norris explained.
Asked by FormulaRapida.net to what extent staying in one team helps the growth of a driver, Norris was uncertain, but agreed that leaving a less successful team for one higher up the grid is helpful for one’s career. “If your objective is to impress other teams and show what your capable of, then sure that’s your thing,” he said.
“I guess especially if your in a lower team, you get the opportunity to go to a better team, show your potential there. I don’t think it’s something Daniel [Ricciardo] has to do. He’s shown in his career that he’s a really good driver, and the same with Carlos. He wanted to go to Ferrari to find more success, and [perhaps] he’s in a better position now, I’m not sure,” Norris summed up.
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