Andreas Seidl drops big Lando Norris claim ahead of McLaren exit

McLaren failed to build on their strong end to 2021, as the team dropped down a place to fifth in the championship.

McLaren were expected to take advantage of the major regulation changes that came into effect at the start of 2022, with many tipping the team to become regular podium challengers following a strong end to 2021.

Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo’s difference in form was one of the key reasons that the team were unable to overtake Alpine in the constructors’ championship, with the young Brit outscoring the Australian by 85 points.

Norris only managed to score a single podium over the course of the season, coming in Imola, however despite the lack of silverware, team principal Andreas Seidl has suggested that his driver has still made an impressive progression in his ability.

“There were different things which were impressing me quite a lot,” claimed Seidl.

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“Obviously, in terms of pure performance inside the car, even if it’s not so visible in terms of results, because we simply were not that competitive compared to last year. He clearly made another step.

“If I see how he’s approaching the weekends, how he’s pulling off the qualifying sessions, how he’s pulling off the races – it’s just impressive, knowing that he’s only in his fourth year in Formula 1.

“Obviously, at the same time, [this] is giving us a quite optimistic outlook because we know there’s still a lot more to come and we know we still have him on board for many, many more years, which is great to know.”

Despite interest being shown in Norris from other teams, most notably Red Bull, the 22-year-old has committed his future to McLaren after becoming invested in their long-term project.

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Seidl has also spoken about Norris’ development away from the racetrack, telling reporters how impressed he is with the 22-year-old’s ability to face adversity.

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“Outside the car, it was quite impressive how he was dealing with these challenges also being a part of the team this year, where it was a bit more challenging compared to the last three years where we always made these steps forward and could score some great results.

“Last year he was very important for me as well, especially at the beginning of the season when we had this difficult start, to make sure he helped me also leading the team, staying positive, and keeping motivating everyone within the team in order to fight back as quickly as possible.”

Norris will face another step up next year, as he will be forced to lead the team for the first time as Daniel Ricciardo is replaced by rookie Oscar Piastri following the 33-year-old’s disappointing spell with the team.