McLaren turned their fortunes around just before the summer break but before that they were in dire straits. It was during this time McLaren found themselves struggling for points and missing many of their development deadlines, which filled their star driver Lando Norris’s head with doubt.
Norris has been loyal to McLaren since his junior days before making his F1 debut with the team in 2019. He has been impressive ever since, but his skill hasn’t translated to race wins or a championship challenge.
As the silly season begins, there are potential openings at Red Bull, Mercedes, and Ferrari in the coming months and years, and given Norris’s skill, he would be high on any team’s list for new drivers.
McLaren CEO, Zak Brown, told the media that the simple way to keep Norris is by giving him a quick car.
“I think the way you keep him is to give him a good race car,” Brown said at the Hungarian GP.
“And as long as we can give him a good race car, well he loves the environment, he loves the team. He’s been on this journey [with us]. Obviously, we were all a bit frustrated at the start of the year, but now he has two second-place finishes. I think as long as we keep doing that, then he’ll stick around.”
In response to Brown’s comments, Norris confirmed that despite thinking about leaving at one stage, he is loyal to McLaren.
“I want to win races with McLaren,” Norris said. “I want to win in papaya, I want to win championships. I want to achieve my success and I want to achieve my goals with McLaren. That’s been my target since I’ve come here, since I’ve entered Formula 1 with this team.
“I guess I’m a loyal guy from that point of view, that I’ve joined the team, they gave me a chance in Formula 1 and I want to deliver and achieve success for them.
“And I think it’s a cooler story at the same time, to go from where we were a few years ago – a team that was really struggling – to fighting back and being that first team to really come back from a long way and fight for championships and wins. I think it would be just a cool story to look back on in 10, 20 years.”
Norris did admit that if McLaren hadn’t turned things around, he would consider a team that could deliver better results.
“In the back of my mind, there’s that impatient game of, ‘Do I stick it out for another few years, or is it time to look at something different?’” he said.
“But the more we achieve things as we have done over the past few weeks, the more I’m very confident with the decision I made to stay until 2025, and the more confident I am that we can achieve our goals together in the future.”