Amid speculation that he may be eyeing a move to Ferrari when his contract ends after the 2025 season, Lando Norris said he is “still giving everything I can” to his McLaren team.
Norris, 25, hit the Formula 1 summer break in eighth place with 69 points. He’s 22 points clear of Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll for ninth place, but also 13 points behind Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz for seventh. However, there has been clear progress with McLaren’s MCL60, including consecutive runner-up finishes in England and Hungary.
Norris expressed frustration earlier in the season with the slow progress McLaren has made in closing the gap on the front of the grid in recent years. While the team is solidly in fourth place in this year’s constructors standings, McLaren is still 82 points behind Ferrari and 93 behind the surging Aston Martin team.
Norris recently told Motorsport.com that issues with slow-speed corners is “just an area that’s been bad for us over the last five years that we’ve not really tackled that well.”
He points to aerodynamics as the likely culprit, with Norris doubting that McLaren could compete with the dominant Red Bulls even with an equal load.
“I don’t think it’s just about looking at aerodynamically how we perform, but also mechanically and tying everything together and coming up with little tricks and things that some other teams have, to accelerate low-speed performance,” he said, per Motorsport.com.
Even more pointedly, Norris recently said that the MCL60 does not provide the type of car that he enjoys driving.
“It’s difficult to describe,” he said. “You have to drive it quite one way. But it’s also a way that I don’t want to drive, or like to drive. I don’t like to drive the car the way that I have to drive it now. I feel like it isn’t to my strengths at all. I want to be able to carry minimum speed and to ‘U’ a corner. And the last thing I can do in the world now is ‘U’ a corner. I have to ‘V’ the corner more than ever, and I’ve never been the biggest fan of doing that. And I don’t like it that much. Basically, the car only likes to go in a straight line. I mean, it doesn’t even go very quick in a straight line either!”
It has all led to speculation that Norris may look to make a move once his contract expires.
“My future, so I’ve got two and a half years with McLaren,” he told Speedcafe. “I’m still giving everything I can.”
McLaren team principal Zak Brown admitted a month before the 2023 season began that the team did not hit its development goals for the MCL60, which has been a continued work in progress.
The team has made several additions to its senior leadership, and Norris expressed confidence that McLaren is moving in the right direction.
“With all these extra people coming in, I’m also excited for the future in what they can bring,” he told Speedcafe. “I tend not to look at the future, like the far future, too much because the near future is exciting. I’m excited about what the possibilities are within, towards the end of the year and then what we can do with what we have now into the winter, and then start with next year.”
Norris is the well-established No. 1 driver, with rookie Oscar Piastri taking over for Daniel Ricciardo this season. Piastri currently sits in 11th in the standings with 34 points, just one behind Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.
The immediate goal for Norris is for continued progress through the end of this season and into the winter testing.
“Just because the last few years, we’ve entered the new season - although sometimes you’ve got to say it’s a step forward, realistically it’s not been what it should be,” he said.
“So I want to be a bit more confident about next year and go ‘yep, got a good car this year,’ at least to start, and then we go forward - not like, ‘we’re not ready with this, this is going to come too late.’ That’s what it’s been the last few years.”
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