Lando Norris, McLaren, Interlagos, 2021

Interest from rival teams prompted Norris’s long-term commitment to McLaren

2022 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Lando Norris revealed he chose to extend his deal to drive for McLaren despite approaches from rival teams.

The 22-year-old, who has driven for McLaren since making his grand prix debut in 2019, enjoyed a strong campaign last year. He finished on the podium four times and claimed his first pole position in Sochi, coming close to winning the race.

McLaren confirmed today Norris has signed a new deal which will keep him at the Woking squad until the end of 2025. It comes less than 12 months after his last contract extension, which was announced prior to last year’s Monaco Grand Prix.

Since then Norris’s increasingly impressive performances prompted interest from rival teams. “There was little chats here and there,” he admitted, “but that’s all, nothing went far.”

Norris wouldn’t elaborate on which teams came knocking, but multiple top teams had vacancies to fill for 2022. However he insisted his priority was remaining at McLaren, and treated any approaches from rivals as a prompt to meet with team principal Andreas Seidl.

Lando Norris, Max Verstappen, Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi, 2021
Red Bull previously tried to sign Norris to its junior team
“As soon as something came up, that’s when I would then continue to go to Andreas and have a little conversation about what our future holds and so on.

“There was little things, no point lying about it, those little things here and there with various other teams. But nothing went far at all.”

Having joined the team as a test and reserve driver in 2017, Norris has been with McLaren throughout the rebuilding process instigated by Zak Brown following his arrival as CEO. Progress has been clear – the team’s slip from third to fourth in the championship last year was arguably a by-product of it over-performing the previous season.

But there is more to come, most significantly from a major infrastructure project including the construction of a new wind tunnel. Norris said he wanted to demonstrate his belief in the direction the team has taken.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“This is more just for the solidarity of me and the team, for the confidence in us both,” he said. “Just to really put the confidence in both of us for the long-term, because I see those as a benefit one for myself to have like this longer contract and stay for a while and then one for the team.”

Lando Norris, McLaren, Sochi Autodrom, 2021
Norris claimed his first pole position last year
Norris believes having a long-term deal in place can ultimately serve to improve the team’s competitiveness by inspiring the staff at the McLaren Technology Centre.

“I do see it as a performance benefit and motivation benefit for the mechanics, for the engineers, for everyone in MTC,” he said. “So if I want to try and find every bit of performance, then that is included in something like this.

“It’s not just purely in the race car, there’s the other areas as well, and this is definitely one of them. So it was another opportunity for me to confirm my commitment to the team, for them to confirm it with me and give the whole team the confidence that I’m here to stay and I want to keep trying to achieve things with them.

“I think that’s a great thing for the team. That’s why it’s say for my own belief, I want to do it because I believe it’s a big motivator for them.”

The team is going into the first season under F1’s drastically revised technical regulations. However Norris is not concerned McLaren’s recent gains will be reversed as it navigates the transition to a completely different rules set.

“For the next four years there’s a heavy commitment from my side to just commit to doing what I want to do, and achieving stuff with the team,” he said. “Especially coming into this year, the logical thing or the thing a lot of people would think is to just stay with my previous contract, which would have ended at the end of the next year or whatever, when we’re so early in this new era of cars and the new regulations and so on.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“But of course, I knew there was an opportunity for other teams to make big steps forward and maybe we go backward. But I don’t think that’s something I need to be worried about. I’m confident in the team that we can still have a good season this year, and whatever happens this year doesn’t mean we might be struggling for the next five, 10 years.”

McLaren ended their nine-year wait for a grand prix win last season. Norris’s new deal is a vote of confidence in their ability to keep building on that and become championship contenders once again.

“I have belief that even if we have a tougher year this year – which I don’t think we will and I’m confident that we won’t – over the next two years and three years, and when we get the wind tunnel up and running, then we can then make that the progress we need. I’m confident we can be back towards the front, even more so than what I’m hoping we can be this year.

“So of course, there’s things here and there, like there is in every single person’s contract. But in terms of my commitment it’s very high. So I’m confident I’ll be here for the next four years.”

2022 F1 season

Browse all 2022 F1 season articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

13 comments on “Interest from rival teams prompted Norris’s long-term commitment to McLaren”

  1. He used either ‘confidence’ or ‘confident’ quite a few times.

  2. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    9th February 2022, 11:14

    Well deserved, let’s hope Mclaren can give him the car to really fight for the 2022 championship.

    Did have a tiny hope that Red Bull would snatch up Norris for 2023 onwards, pairing Norris and Max together could have been mighty for years to come.

    1. I think they was some inquaries from Red Bull so it was possible.

    2. Yes, explosive team pairing like potentially hamilton-russell or what I suggested in the past verstappen-alonso, with the advantage that none of the 2 drivers would’ve been about to retire anytime soon.

  3. I mean, as long as McLaren is not a works team I wouldn’t have done what Norris did, given that Lewis is almost certainly retiring before 2025, that Mercedes seat could’ve easily been his for the taking.

    1. Lets not forget the near-certain possibility VW and Porsche will be joining F1 in the near future as well.

  4. I’m sure he would have been approached by a few teams, he’s still young and is a great prospect for a long-term driver. I’m sure that chatting with the boss about these offers helped him with his contract negotiations, too :-). I’m pleased he is staying at Mclaren – they seem like a really good fit.

    1. Ahah, true, “I’ll give you 10 mil a year!” *shows him the mercedes offer* “Ok, 15 mil” *shows him the red bull offer* “Ok, 20 mil” “Deal!”.

  5. Constantijn Blondel
    9th February 2022, 14:40

    Congrats Lando.

    I like McLaren these days. I think Zak’s a pretty decent human being, given that he’s a business person. I like Andreas Seidl, and with Danny Ric and Lando, they have a pair of driver’s that’s both blindingly fast and also really cool guys.

    I wish them best. Would be awesome to see McLaren be on the top step a bit more often than in these last, draughtful years.

  6. A bit odd that, given the number of “old drivers” on the grid, he has commited to a team for so long, especially in these times of new regulations and the new engine formula that starts in 2026. Either he and McLaren are absolutely confident about their car this season, or both sides hurried up too much. You could argue that when the veterans retire, Alpine or Aston Martin are not as solid as McLaren, but I wouldn’t underrate Stroll’s Sr efforts to make a great team, especially considering all the money that he can drop into it, budget cap or not. So maybe McLaren have had great sim results for this 2022 campaign.

    1. @omarr-pepper Red Bull is Verstappen’s team, Mercedes will be Russell’s team and Ferrari is Leclerc’s team. He is at the best place he can be. I trust McLaren far more than the perennial under performers at Alpine (nobody who has options should really go there) and Aston Martin.

      1. @mashiat Ferrari was Vettel’s team until 2018, but when they saw he couldn’t deliver, they gave CL a chance. Even when Vettel had won many races, that was obviously not the only objective for Ferrari.
        But what I mean is that if Charles and / or Russell don’t deliver, they could go for Lando. They could have gone for him, but now he is locked.

        1. @omarr-pepper Those are quite big “ifs”, and I’m not so sure I’d rate Lando over either of them as drivers. At McLaren, he knows they’ll build the car around him, he knows he’s likely the top dog and also, we can’t discount the fact that he’s probably getting a significantly higher salary for the next few years. This is akin to when Verstappen extended his Red Bull contract by several years in 2017, and it did pay off eventually. Worst case for Lando, McLaren doesn’t deliver, and Lando has his pick of teams at the end of 2025 when he’ll only be 26 and entering his peak phase.

Comments are closed.