McLaren MCL35 launch. McLaren Technology Centre, 2020

Norris will keep having fun but is ‘toning it down’ after negative social media feedback

2020 F1 season

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Lando Norris says his willingness to make jokes and have fun has led to negative feedback on social media.

But the 20-year-old, whose entertaining posts won him many fans during his debut season last year, says he will rein it in this year but intends to keep enjoying himself.

“I’ll still have fun, I’ll still make jokes and do what I do,” he said at the launch of McLaren’s new MCL35 today.

“But there’s times when sometimes maybe I need to – not shift my focus because I still worked hard, every time I needed to work on things and focus, I did – but things can get portrayed quite differently from what I know and see myself compared to the outside world.

“A lot of people see me make jokes and whatever, and therefore they turn and put a lot of blame [for] mistakes I do on me having fun and them seeing me look like I not focus compared to other drivers.

“Other people don’t post funny videos and whatever. So then they think that’s the reason for why I make mistakes sometimes. I do things and they put the blame on just the fact the I have more fun and enjoy things more than other people. It’s just that. I don’t want me being portrayed that way, basically. But I’m not going to change a lot it’s just small things here and there.”

[smr2020test]Norris admitted he had reconsidered his approach following negative feedback on social media. “I’d say 90% of the time it doesn’t affect me at all,” he explained. “I find it quite a good laugh to see what people can come up with, ideas and rumours people have and think about.

“But there’s still times when you see things that kind of play on your mind a bit. I wouldn’t say it’s affected me in a good or bad way.

“There’s things which, like with me maybe toning down having fun and publicising that side of me, you see a comment like people blaming things on things which just aren’t true, but that’s what they believe it is based upon. And it’s quite difficult being the world we’re in in the paddock and then what people see on TV and on social media, things can still look very different.

“So it’s just trying to get the balance right I think and trying to put them both together as well as possible with how people see me.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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23 comments on “Norris will keep having fun but is ‘toning it down’ after negative social media feedback”

  1. So, McLaren want one of the few characters on the grid to tone down his personality..?

    Lando, we love, please don’t become another “for sure, …” media drone.

    1. I’m pretty sure McLaren didn’t have anything to do with that. rather it’s about toxic people on social media

    2. I believe it is the same McLaren fans who have an enormous nostalgic fixation on Ron Dennis. Imagine how the old man would deal with that.

    3. I prefer norris to be himself make the jomes as be seea fit. I enjoy his humor. He is young after all. Not an old fart. Joking and laughing does not mean 1 is not serious about what 1 does.

  2. Sigh. Feel bad for him. You know he’s probably putting in more sim hours than a lot of drivers, but because he has a bit of fun on social media some people just hate him for that, not for any real reason, and so put him down when he makes mistakes that other drivers could make and get no hate for, and say that he doesn’t put in enough effort etc.

    1. Honestly he’s my favourite driver on the grid today alongside Max. If the people who don’t like his fun side or his funny videos then, simply don’t watch them. His on track mistakes are nothing to do with his personality.

      Keep doing what your doing Lando!

    2. @hugh11, it is the convergence of the strong passions that sport can raise in some people and the ability to abuse somebody anonymously.

      As some have noted, there may be those who are of the “bring back Ron Dennis” brigade who want McLaren to go back to his operating model and thus see Norris’s behaviour as an example of what is wrong with the team, others might be motivated out of frustration or jealousy if he has beaten their driver, others still might just want to hurl abuse at somebody to vent their own personal frustrations.

      The toxic side of social media has long been a known issue, and even if there may be many more positive comments, human nature means that the negative comments tend to have a far larger psychological impact than positive ones do.

  3. I’m happy to see that McLaren are supportive of Lando and Carlos’ antics, and are striking the right balance between giving them freedom without it coming across as corporate managed. For instance, the “leaked video” announcing the date of the car reveal was the most recent example I can think of.

    So, no matter what the critics on the internet say (looks at mirror), it’s good to see the team working in this manner. And I think many of us will admit to having experienced whiplash from the difference in tone of the driver(s) in 2018 to that in 2019.

  4. Let the boy just have some fun, for Christ’s sake. I don’t understand what these people dislike about Norris. He has his own lifestyle and was more than promising in his rookie season, there was no conflict between him as a person and as a driver.

    1. Social media is a place for people to express themselves, don’t go on social media and be mad that people are expressing themselves in ways you don’t like.

      You can always hit the close button in the upper right hand corner…

    2. @pironitheprovocateur Agree with you. It sounds like its being driven by Lando himself, rather than McLaren though.

      Unfortunately guys like Lando, Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi and Lewis get painted with a single brush because they don’t fit into the cookie-cutter mould of what a “focused” racing driver ought to be. That single dimension then colours whatever they achieve, and constantly gets brought up in dumb ways. The fans love some personality in a driver, so it’s a bit unfortunate that Lando feels the need to water it down.

  5. I hope he goes back and continues doing what he does. He should enjoy F1 life in his own way…

    I guess it comes with age that you’re mature enough to not care about the negativity of some random people on the net. Like Lewis, he was criticized a lot for his off-the-track lifestyle, but it makes him happy, and that surely translates better into a good performace on the car. Kimi said something similar in the F1 podcast, the more fun you have, the more relaxed you are and the better you can perform.

  6. He should do what he wants to do. But at the same time his performance last year yo-yo’d all over the place. It was good for a rookie but in the races he didn’t see his team mate for dust, this love in can’t last as Lando has to beat him because sadly no one thinks Carlos is a world champion so if Lando isn’t beating him by Silverstone he will have some problems.

    The 2nd problem was he was a pusher over in combat.

  7. Cristiano Ferreira
    13th February 2020, 20:29

    What happened last season is more down to very bad luck than anything else. Does stop being funny at social media have prevevented what happened to his engine in the Paul Ricard last year? Of course not.

    He and Verstappen are very funny in social media, yet we don’t see the same reaction on Verstappen’s side, maybe because he has a better car than Lando or maybe because he is not a rookie anymore.

    I hope he doesn’t change himself and turn into another boring individual.

    Like I said before, as much as I dislike Hamilton, his lifestyle which is more harmful to focus than the one Norris currently has, didn’t cause him to drop a bit in his form.

    Getting the job done is all that matters in the end, not your lifestyle.

  8. Strange, I frequent a fair few F1 sites and the comments I’ve seen about Lando’s antics are overwhelmingly positive everywhere. If he’s bothered by negative comments, someone needs to tell him he has fewer than most and that you can never please everybody.

  9. Steve W (@westcoastboogaloo)
    13th February 2020, 21:13

    100% agree

    1. Steve W (@westcoastboogaloo)
      13th February 2020, 21:15

      100% agree with everyone else. Don’t change Lando, you’re a breath of fresh air.

  10. I am blissfully unaware of whatever Lando is doing in social media. Norris is correct, most people are that basic.

  11. It’s the fun stuff we remember most, giving out Ice Cream during an interruption.
    What Lando needs is a Tee-Shirt … “Leave me alone, I know what I am doing”.
    As Captain Jack Sparrow said …. “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.”

  12. There are lots of “serious” drivers, Kimi, Bottas, Perez etc. If you don’t like Lando, watch them, and let us enjoy the gift that keeps on giving that is Norris.

  13. People go to work and make jokes on social media. I see no issue why Norris can’t do the same.

  14. I look at my 2 little girls and find it a shame that life is going to gradually knock the fun out of them cos it’s embarrassing, or silly, or naughty, or weird etc. people should be free to be themselves. With fame comes people who think he should behave a different way but he should be free to behave as he wishes. it has been great seeing Ricciardo, Norris, Sainz Jr, Albon and Russell all taking the Micky out of each other and for once I feel we have a grid where they don’t all despise each other. leave the boy be, he is 20, he can grow up when he has kids of his own.

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