There were reported doubts on whether Lando Norris would have been ‘allowed to’ challenge Max Verstappen for a World Championship if the Brit made the switch to Red Bull, according to ‘one person close to’ the McLaren driver. Red Bull’s interest in signing Norris has been no secret with Christian Horner admitting last year that talks had been held “a couple of times over the years”.
Norris himself has spoken openly about the interest shown from Red Bull, but he’s maintained loyalty to McLaren. It was around 12 months ago that Norris signed a new bumper contract with McLaren until the end of 2025.
However, McLaren’s fall down the pecking order since then has led to further questions on Norris’ future with the F1 team. Most seats are already filled for next season, meaning Norris’ chance of sealing a move elsewhere would have to wait until 2025.
Red Bull may well be looking for a Sergio Perez replacement at that point if the Mexican fails to meet expectations. That will likely once again raise suspicions about a potential switch to Red Bull, but there are reported concerns over how the team dynamic would play out between Norris and Verstappen.
A source close to Norris at McLaren indicated to The Race ‘doubts’ the young Brit would be given all the tools he’d need to fight with Verstappen fair and square. But that person also echoes Norris’ statement where the 23-year-old said he wouldn’t want to be considered as a No 2.
“I believe, I want to have the confidence in myself, that if I was to go to any team, I’d be there to fight for wins and to fight for championships,” Norris told The Race. “So, if I was to go anywhere, I’d probably make it clear that I’m not there to be a number two or to be in any other position, other than to do the best for myself and to go for the best position that I can, which is either to win races or to win championships.”
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Speaking more on Red Bull’s interest in signing him, Norris admitted that conversations are always happening but still feels like McLaren is the best place for him to be at the moment. “Every driver wants to have options,” he added.
“Every driver has conversations with as many people as they can to give themself options, or to see what’s available. Just so you can set things out cleanly and look, ‘is this the best direction for me?’ I believe McLaren is the best option for me long term, which is why it was a four-year deal. It was nothing more than just having a chat, just getting acquainted with speaking to different teams and the people who run it.
“It wasn’t any more advanced in any way. We saw what was possible and what could have been possible. Nothing tempted me in any way more than still being here.”
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