Lando Norris has committed to another multi-year deal at McLaren despite rumours that he might jump ship to Red Bull. Despite those rumours, Norris says that talks with rival teams never progressed to a serious stage before signing with McLaren and isn’t just because the team turned things around so dramatically in 2023, rather he’s “convinced” that they are on the right track for World Championships.
“As a team, we have everything we need in order to achieve that goal,” Norris said. “As far as the team’s goal and also just the personal goal that I’ve always had.
“I don’t think it’s just last year and how we turned things around. I don’t think that’s the only thing that I would say has convinced me more.
“It’s just everything that goes on day-to-day, the people that are here, the work ethic, the mentality, the approach to everything.”
Rumours are always rampant in Formula 1, but Norris insisted that there was never any truth to him moving to Red Bull.
“You know what other teams are doing and how they’re looking and how they’re feeling and what their potentials are at the same time with what drivers they’ve got, what people they’ve got, and so on,” Norris said.
“And really nothing from the other side was convincing enough to everyone to make me even have a proper look at another team.
“The atmosphere, the mentality, the camaraderie I think we have here has built up a lot over the years. And I also just very much enjoyed being part of all that.”
Norris’ relationship with McLaren is long-standing and seems built on trust between the two parties, but there’s also a level of Romanticism present. Norris wants to “be part of the story of turning things around and going from the beginning of my career and struggling and going through those ups and downs and sticking with the team.”
That would be a nice storybook ending for himself and McLaren, but the simplest reason he wants to stay at McLaren is that he simply enjoys it.
“I also enjoy it,” he continued. “That’s also a big factor for me. As much as I do want to just be in a team that’s the quickest one, there’s also that element of I’m also here because I love racing and I love to have fun and enjoy all of that.
“Really, for me, that’s my number one thing at the end of the day. I’m doing what I love and I want to be with a team that I love and I enjoy every moment with and that’s McLaren.
“So I think when you factor all these things together, when you factor the improvements that we’ve made and just walking around the factory over the last few days and seeing how not just excited, but just how motivated and how passionate everyone is, it’s definitely a new level from where we’ve been.
“Work ethic and people are what needs to convince me as well as, of course, results. But the people that we have and the family feeling I think that we all have and the push everyone’s doing is also the next convincing thing that I need. So when I put those things together, along with me just wanting to be part of the family and enjoying my life, that I live, it made it quite an easy decision.”
He goes on to admit that he did talk with Red Bull, but that’s not unusual for any driver to do so. It’s standard practice to talk with all the teams just see what they’re offering, but none of these talks went past the preliminary stage.
“Everyone speaks to everyone,” he said. “Every driver speaks to every team and it’s not in terms of like, everyone just sorting out contracts. It’s just what can one team offer you and what can another team offer you and things like that.
“But it’s the same with every driver. Everyone speaks to every team on what could we potentially do one day? But nothing ever progressed on more than that, basically.”
McLaren are expected to perform well in 2024 after a surprising turnaround in 2023 with their momentum expected to be carried forward.