Lando Norris Explains Why He Can’t Be a Match to Max Verstappen at Red

Lando Norris Explains Why He Can’t Be a Match to Max Verstappen at Red Bull

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Lando Norris has recently extended his contract with McLaren Racing. The new extension will see the British driver stay with the Papayas beyond the end of the 2025 F1 season. The Briton made this decision amid rumors that Red Bull was keen to sign him. Norris rejected the chance to join the Milton Keynes-based outfit as he does not want to compete against Max Verstappen. When asked about the same, Norris told Sky Sports,

“I don’t think it’s the question of are you scared or not scared. I don’t think I’d ever be scared of going against anyone but even if you enter a team or in a position to challenge someone straight away, and comfortable to do that and I think it’s a no for any driver. It takes time to adapt, it takes time to get into place and if you want to go against the best driver in the world, it’s not the best thing to do. It’s not the smart move to do.”

However, the 24-year-old once did reveal that he would like to be Verstappen’s teammate. Back in 2023, he said that he was very much open to working alongside the Dutchman as he never got the opportunity to race against him by being on the same team.

Interestingly, Norris also invited the Dutchman to McLaren last year. As things stand now, Norris has extended his contract with the Woking-based outfit. On the other hand, Verstappen is also tied to Red Bull till the end of the 2028 F1 season. Therefore, the two sharing the same team will not be possible in a long time.

Norris has most likely extended his deal because of how well McLaren recovered last year. The 24-year-old will now hope that the team from Woking can continue to make progress and are not far from race wins or even fighting for the championship.

How is McLaren’s mega rise a reason for Lando Norris to stay?

McLaren Racing had a mega rise in 2023. The Papayas started the season in the worst possible way after they claimed zero points at the end of two races. From there on, they worked on a new concept and got the desired results.

The engineers back at Woking did not stay adamant with their concept, forgot all their egos, and began working from scratch. This was one of the reasons why McLaren gained, while Mercedes lost.

Speaking about this, Vanessa Guerra, an F1 expert said to The VF1 Show with VF & Vincenzo, “When you see what McLaren built last year, and they continued to improve, they were like this isn’t working, let us throw it all out. That requires a lot of people putting their egos aside.”

As McLaren brought the likes of Rob Marshall from Red Bull and David Sanchez from Ferrari, they helped the team significantly move in the right direction. This was in stark contrast to Mercedes, who lost James Vowles to Williams and also Mike Elliot.

In the end, Mercedes barely finished ahead of Ferrari to claim P2 in the Constructors’ championship. On the contrary, McLaren came from the back of the grid to clinch P4 in the standings. This also resulted in Mercedes’ reduced sponsor count.

Compared to McLaren, who has over 40 sponsors, the Silver Arrows have half the sponsors coming into the 2024 F1 season. This is perhaps one of the main reasons why Lando Norris was keen to stay at McLaren.

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