Lando Norris could join Red Bull any time he wants despite Max Verstappen‘s teammate Sergio Perez being contracted to the team for 2024, according to Alex Albon.
Norris‘ own McLaren contract runs until the end of 2025 and he’s re-iterated his commitment to the team, despite Red Bull dominating F1‘s new era of regulations with four championships in the last two years.
Albon and Norris were friends in F2 and that relationship has survived through Formula 1 after they made their debuts together in 2019.
“I think if he wants it, but let’s see because no one enjoys being Max‘s teammate, it’s hard,” Albon told Sky Sports F1 Italy. “But if he’s confident in himself, which he should be, then from what I hear the invitation’s been open for a while.”
Albon spent a year and a half as Verstappen‘s Red Bull teammate from the 2019 Belgian Grand Prix, but struggled mightily and ended up out of F1 in 2021 after he was comprehensively beaten by the Dutchman.
Verstappen is set to win the 2023 drivers’ championship at the Qatar GP with only his teammate Sergio Perez still in mathematical contention.
Despite Perez having a decent early season, he’s been outclassed by Verstappen from the Miami GP onwards and is still battling Lewis Hamilton for second in the championship despite driving the dominant RB19.
That’s meant no title battle in 2023, but most fans are optimistic that Norris might be able to fight Verstappen over a season in the same machinery.
After impressing as a rookie alongside Carlos Sainz in 2019, the Brit’s stock has grown and grown and Norris is seen by many as leading the pack of drivers just behind Hamilton and Verstappen, or even on that level.
How committed is Lando Norris?
Early on in 2023, it looked like Norris was set to leave McLaren as soon as possible. After a cripplingly disappointing pre-season testing, Oscar Piastri was the first retirement of the year 13 laps into the Bahrain GP and Norris ended the race two laps down after pitting six times to manage a pneumatic pressure leak.
The team struggled through the first half of the season, but everything changed when their game-changing upgrades hit his car at the Austrian GP. He’s not finished outside the points since, and scored four podiums in that run too.
With former McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl leaving to prepare Audi‘s entry into F1 with Sauber for 2026, it looked like the stars were aligning for Norris to become the German manufacturer’s star man.
In August Norris admitted he had questioned signing that long-term McLaren contract, but as their form has picked up in 2023 he’s become more and more confident in the team’s ability to make him a race-winner within the next few years.
“It’s hard to say now, because just like I have with Williams, you can tell the relationship Lando has with McLaren is very strong, and for now it looks like there’s no reason to change,” Albon added.