McLaren CEO responds to rumours of losing Lando Norris to Red Bull

Lando Norris reveals the advice Lewis Hamilton gave him

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Zak Brown believes McLaren can build a car capable of keeping Lando Norris from the clutches of Formula 1’s superpowers in the long term. Norris, 23, is contracted to the Woking-based team until 2025 after penning a new deal earlier this year, but his talents have not gone unnoticed by the prying eyes of rival outfits.

Rumours of a move have been revived following Andreas Seidl’s departure as McLaren team principal to join Sauber, which will rebrand as Audi for the 2026 campaign. Norris has admitted he held talks with Red Bull prior to signing his latest contract, putting his current employers on alert as they look to retain one of F1’s greatest prospects.

However, McLaren chief executive Brown has rejected the notion there’s any concern about losing their prized gem to a competitor. Moreover, the American businessman is confident he and Norris are aligned over their vision for the future following a season in which he mustered just one podium finish.

“No, because I’m convinced we’re going to give him a winning car,” replied the McLaren boss when asked if he was worried about Norris being poached. “We have a long-term contract with him. I think he feels very comfortable within the team.

“Other than obviously the pressure we put on ourselves, because we don’t want to just give him a winning car, we want to give us a winning car. So, I think we’ve got a runway to get there. He knows the journey we’re on. He has bought into the journey that we’re on, and I think it’d be early to be worried about it.”

The timing of Audi’s arrival in F1 would align just right for Norris to make a clean exit from McLaren at the end of 2025 if he did pursue a move. Results had improved year-on-year for the Briton during his first three seasons, though one would forgive him for being disheartened following a drop from sixth in 2021 down to seventh this year.

Expectations are high for McLaren after they terminated Daniel Ricciardo’s contract early in order to replace him with upcoming star Oscar Piastri. And Brown is looking forward to the prospect of seeing the team’s two young drivers compete on a level field in the upcoming season.

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“I think Lando is one of the fastest drivers on the grid and I expect Oscar to be close,” continued the CEO. “I expect Oscar to have some opportunities to beat him and vice versa. And that’s obviously what you want, right? It’s two drivers right next to each other and reversing the order.”

Red Bull know Max Verstappen will lead their charge in the long term given he’s contracted until the end of 2028, though partner Sergio Perez has just two more seasons to run on his deal.

Norris has thus far been committed to the McLaren cause in the hopes of breaking up the ‘Big Three’ monopoly at the top of the sport, though results may need to improve if he’s to maintain that good will in Woking.

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