Lando Norris has committed his future to McLaren by signing a multi-year contract extension beyond the 2025 Formula 1 season, closing immediate discussion about a move to Red Bull.
The Brit has been at the team since joining in 2017 and graduating to F1 in 2019, where he has since gone on to become their lead driver recording 104 race starts, 663 career points and 13 podiums, with one pole position.
As a result of his performances, the lure of a switch to Mercedes or Red Bull, both of whom have always finished the season higher than McLaren since 2019, has been hanging over Norris’ head yet, he has remained firm in his loyalty to the team that gave him his F1 shot.
“It’s a great feeling to be staying in papaya,” Norris said in a McLaren press release. “I’ve grown up with McLaren and feel at home here, the team are like family to me.
“The journey so far has been exciting, we’ve had ups and downs, but last season showed our desire to get back to competing at the front of the grid. The work Zak [Brown], Andrea [Stella] and the whole team have put in over the last year has been incredible and I’m confident in challenging for wins with McLaren.
“I’m excited to create more amazing memories and continue working hard with everyone at MTC [McLaren Technology Centre] for the next few years.”
The announcement comes after Norris was heavily linked to partner up with Max Verstappen. He was anticipated to replace Sergio Perez after an underwhelming 2023 season, drawing particular fondness from the team’s special advisor, Helmut Marko.
In the wake of this, McLaren’s 2024 challenger offers, arguably, their best chance of competing for regular wins since the 2012 and locking Norris down could be a further step in that direction.
“I’m delighted that we’re continuing our relationship with Lando for multiple years to come,” Zak Brown, CEO, said to McLaren. “It’s been a fantastic journey over the last six years, and he has shown fantastic commitment and desire to push the team forward and get McLaren back to the front of the grid.
“Last season we saw the fundamental role Lando played with the impressive turnaround in results and I’m looking forward to continuing this push forward together with lots more podiums.”
Drivers are key to McLaren future
But despite Verstappen admitting that he and Norris had discussed becoming teammates in the future, the 24-year-old has decided to remain true to Brown and Woking by staying put for the upcoming seasons.
It’s something that Andrea Stella, the team principal, describes as “instrumental” to the future progress of the team along with Oscar Piastri as he enters his second season.
“I’m pleased to confirm the extension of our partnership with Lando on a multi-year contract beyond 2025,” Stella said to McLaren. “This reflects the commitment and confidence we have together, with our shared ambition to ultimately win championships again in the future.
“Lando has grown as a driver and a person since initially joining McLaren in 2017. He impressed last season, playing an important role in our progress throughout the year, securing seven podiums with many fantastic drives.
“Alongside Oscar, our exciting driver pairing will play an instrumental part in our
objective to move towards the front of the grid. They have impressed in their first season together and I’m looking forward to continuing the hard work with them both on this exciting journey.”
Can Norris build on 2023’s success?
Norris’ last contract, signed in 2022, was due to expire at the end of 2025 and making sure they kept onto him was a priority for a McLaren team that made incredible progress in the 2023 season by starting as a backmarker before becoming a front-runner.
From the Austrian Grand Prix in July where the team introduced their first major upgrade of the season, the Brit collected 193 points in 14 rounds, including seven podiums, after only possessing 12 points in eight races to open the season.
He will look to see how the latest machine given to him by McLaren will perform at the season-opening 2024 Bahrain GP, which takes place from February 29-March 2.