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Norris Rejects Red Bull Interest, Believes in Long-Term McLaren Success



Norris Rejects Red Bull Interest Believes in Long-Term McLaren Success

Drawing parallels with Max Verstappen’s early career, Lando Norris remains confident in his decision to extend his contract with McLaren until the end of 2025, despite the team’s uncertain short-term prospects. The young driver believes he has what it takes to challenge the likes of Verstappen and Hamilton for the championship.

Lando Norris believes that he is currently in a similar position to Max Verstappen a few years ago. Before the Dutchman found success at Red Bull Racing, he faced a lot of criticism, and it was far from certain that he would ever be successful in Milton Keynes. Despite this, Verstappen extended his contract for a lengthy period, something that Norris has also done at McLaren.

The question now arises for the Englishman whether extending his contract until the end of 2025 was a wise move, as it does not seem that McLaren will be competing for prizes in the short term. However, Norris believes he is good enough to compete for trophies. “I have full confidence now that I would be able to take on Max and Lewis, and I’m not the kind of guy who will ever say that I’m sure I can easily beat them, but I believe that I can fight against them for the championship.”

It hasn’t reached that point yet, but that doesn’t mean all is lost, according to Norris. “Look at where Max was a few years ago,” the 23-year-old reflects in an interview with The Race. “He was a guy who made a lot of mistakes. He crashed a lot. Everyone said how he was all over the place, and now look at him, how composed he appears, how professional he looks. I don’t want to say that I’m in that position, but it was more about the confidence,” Norris explains regarding his contract extension.

Norris wondered where he would be in three, four, or five years. “That stability and the confidence in myself, knowing that the team wants me to stay for another four or five years, helps me enormously. I feel like I can handle all these things better now than ever before. As a result, I can perform at my best. And if I had only extended for a year, most drivers probably wouldn’t be able to work at the same level, simply because they have that thought in their head about what will happen at the end of this year or next year. I didn’t need that.”

It’s no secret that Norris was in the interest of Red Bull before he extended his contract in Woking. “Every driver wants options,” the Brit explains regarding that interest. “Every driver wants to talk to as many people as possible to give themselves options or to see what’s available so that you can lay things out neatly and decide what direction is best for you. I believe that McLaren was the best option for the long term, which is why I extended my contract for four years.”

The interest from Red Bull wasn’t extensive. “It was nothing more than having a chat, getting acquainted with speaking to different teams and the people who run them. It wasn’t advanced in any way. We were looking at what was possible and what could have been. Nothing enticed me more than staying here (at McLaren),” Norris said.


However, the question remains why Norris chose against the option to join a winning team. “It’s not that simple,” he explains. “I want to believe that if I were to go to a team, I would be there to fight for victories and championships. I would make it clear that I’m not there to be the second driver or hold another position. I have to go for the best position, and that is to fight for wins or championships.”

Norris Questions Necessity of Red Flags for Spectacle in Chaotic Melbourne Race

Lando Norris has expressed surprise at McLaren’s disadvantage compared to competitors when utilizing the drag reduction system (DRS). The team has faced a challenging beginning to the 2023 Formula 1 season and acknowledged that they fell short of development goals during the car’s launch. In an effort to improve their speed, McLaren plans to introduce enhancements this weekend in Baku, as they are presently struggling to match the pace of the leading midfield teams.

In the previous race at Melbourne, McLaren earned its inaugural points for the season, with Norris and his teammate Oscar Piastri finishing in sixth and eighth place respectively. However, Norris noted that during the qualifying round, when there were four active DRS zones, McLaren’s car faced significant difficulties compared to other teams when the rear wing flap was opened due to its “draggy” nature. He remarked, “We were astonished by our poor performance with DRS and the excessive drag when we activated it.”

“We do gain a few kilometers per hour, but some competitors achieve an additional 10-15 km/h, placing them in a completely different league compared to us. Consequently, Saturdays are currently a major weak point for us, as having four DRS zones does not work to our advantage in any manner. However, we comprehend the issue and are diligently working to determine how to enhance our efficiency and make improvements. It will take some time before we can significantly improve this aspect, but we’re making an effort.”

“However, when Saturdays are so challenging, it inevitably makes our Sundays more difficult.”

The conclusion of the Melbourne race was marked by chaos, as Race Control issued a red flag to halt the race following Kevin Magnussen’s crash at Turn 2. When the race resumed, several additional incidents led to another red flag. Norris questioned the necessity for these stoppages and speculated that they were implemented merely to “create a spectacle” for the audience.


“Although I had a good race, I felt like the purpose of red-flagging was just to entertain the spectators,” Norris expressed. “As the driver, I felt that I could have been unlucky for no apparent reason. I could have easily crashed with Nico Hulkenberg at the end because of the sudden swerving and cars going off the track. We worked hard to complete 55/56 laps perfectly, and it’s frustrating when everything can be taken away abruptly due to efforts to create a spectacle. So, I believe that this aspect requires a small reconsideration. I don’t believe it needs to be entirely changed, but rather re-evaluated, in my opinion.”

Norris Rejects Red Bull Interest, Believes in Long-Term McLaren Success Norris Rejects Red Bull Interest, Believes in Long-Term McLaren Success Norris Rejects Red Bull Interest, Believes in Long-Term McLaren Success Norris Rejects Red Bull Interest, Believes in Long-Term McLaren Success

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