Lando Norris, McLaren, Monaco, 2021

Norris: McLaren told me things a driver wants to hear

2021 Monaco Grand Prix

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Lando Norris says he committed to McLaren for 2022 and beyond based on his confidence in the team and assurances from senior staff members Andreas Seidl and Zak Brown.

After his new, long-term deal was announced yesterday, Norris said he had found it an easy decision to make.

“I’m very happy with where I am [and] with how the last two years have been. I feel like I’m in a good place, as a person, with myself. And I’m happy also with the team and how they’re doing and also their plans and structure for the upcoming years.

“So I’m very happy. It’s good, first of all, to stay in Formula 1, stay doing what I love. But also with the team that I started it with, started my journey with. I’m happy to to be continuing the story.”

McLaren’s plans for the future had played a significant role in Norris’ decision to stay at the team. “There’s a lot of things we have coming up, like the wind tunnel, is one of the biggest I think.

“A lot of things are still fairly new within the structure of the team and everyone’s place and so on. So I think that’s still solidifying. And I think just how we work as a team is still quite new because of the structure. So following that up in the next few seasons is only going to get better.

“We’ve still got plenty of areas to work on as a team, not just on the car and the plans in place for that are also very good.”

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He said his confidence in the plans came directly from the team bosses. “I’m just a driver in the end of the day. But there’s also those things that you like to see as a driver from the team side, from the head side of it all, that make you feel confident and make you feel good, that you’re in the right place.

“So basically, Andreas and Zak have told me the things that you want to hear as a driver. And that’s always a good confidence booster.”

Norris has agreed a multi-year extension to a contract which due to end after this season. It was previously extended on a single-year basis, first during his rookie year and again shortly after Daniel Ricciardo had during the 2020 lockdown.

This was Norris’ first full contract negotiations as a driver. “I’m very happy with the progress we’ve made and the plan that’s in place,” he said.

“Especially going into next season, because you never know where you’re going to be. So the best thing for me, the best thing for the team, or for any team probably is to maintain a structure within the team, maintain the confidence within everyone.

“I think that will be a good thing for myself, my own confidence, but also for the team that we just go into next year with all these new rules, new regulations. There’s just that continuity between all of us. So not too many decisions for me. I am happy with where I am and I didn’t need to think of too many other things in order to sign my new contract.”

Norris and Ricciardo are now both locked into multi-year contracts with the team. Ricciardo welcomed the news of his team mate’s new deal, saying he could “see the team is really happy with him and what he’s doing” and that getting any negotiation out of the way early in the season would help McLaren.

Ricciardo said he wanted to commit to McLaren for the long term because of the disruption involved in switching teams. “Being with Red Bull for five seasons and then going to two with Renault, everything needs a bit of time, especially if you’re trying to help build something. I’d done, obviously, a bit of musical chairs the last few years and didn’t really appeal to me to be doing that too often.

“So I believed in what I saw in McLaren and it certainly gave me the confidence to go with a longer-term deal. I think it probably takes a little bit of pressure off as well, you don’t feel like you’re forced or rushed to set records from day one. So just having that foundation, knowing you’ve got time on your side to build and to build it right. That’s kind of where it came in my process.”

2021 Monaco Grand Prix

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2 comments on “Norris: McLaren told me things a driver wants to hear”

  1. McLaren: 1 or 2 of them were true.

  2. “Norris: McLaren told me things a driver wants to hear”
    I need therapy for the mental image I’ve created.

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