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Brown Clarifies Norris Extension Unrelated to Hamilton

Brown Clarifies Norris Extension Unrelated to Hamilton

13/05/2024

Zak Brown dispels rumors linking Norris’s McLaren F1 contract extension to Lewis Hamilton’s move.

McLaren F1 and Lando Norris have finally won a Grand Prix together. The Brit, who was frustrated after more than 100 races marked by many podiums without ever reaching the top step, can certainly rejoice in having made a (the?) good choice by extending his journey with the Woking team earlier this year.

McLaren is clearly on an upward trajectory, likely to win more races by the end of 2025. And then contend for the title? Nothing is less certain as new regulations will disrupt the status quo.

This likely motivated Lewis Hamilton to sign with Ferrari. However, just before that, Lando Norris had been extended “long term” at McLaren.

Zak Brown, the CEO of McLaren, was he aware of this upcoming signing that shook up the transfer market, starting by opening a door at Mercedes F1? Did he hasten Norris’s signing because of it? He insists that was not the case.

“No, I was not aware, and I truly believe that no one was, except for Lewis, Fred (Vasseur), and the top bosses at Ferrari.”

“Yes, we had just made the announcement for Lando. But it wasn’t a reaction to anything I might have heard about rumors with Ferrari.”

“We had actually signed him at the end of the year, but we wanted to make the announcement after the holidays, with him, at the factory.”

“We didn’t want to just release a paper statement.”

“Yes, many people came up with their theories saying, ‘oh, they signed him just in time.’ The reality was that he had signed almost two months ago.”

For Brown, there was no hesitation in extending Norris’s contract as well as that of Oscar Piastri.

“We knew we wanted Lando. Oscar was extended in September 2023 even before completing his first season with the team. It only took a few races last year to convince us. We saw enough quite quickly. So why wait until the contract’s end date?”

So far this season, McLaren holds third place in the constructors’ championship, with both drivers in the top 10 of the drivers’ standings. Norris is fourth, while Piastri is sixth.

Does Brown think he has the best duo in F1?

“I believe so. If you consider their speed and age, their commitment to the team, our commitment to them, the length of the deal, yes, there’s no other driver combination I would want, apart from the two guys we have.”

Brown Clarifies Norris Extension Unrelated to Hamilton

Brown Clarifies Norris Extension Unrelated to Hamilton. Brown Clarifies Norris Extension Unrelated to Hamilton.

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