Ex-Lando Norris manager says he’ll join Ferrari if Charles Leclerc signs Mercedes deal

Lando Norris' lucrative contract with McLaren is set to expire at the end of 2025, the same year that Lewis Hamilton is tipped to retire.

Ex-Ferrari team manager Peter Windsor believes McLaren star Lando Norris will be a target for the Maranello-based side should Charles Leclerc replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, once the seven-time World Champion retires.

Norris has been an exceptional driver for McLaren since making the step from F2 to F1 in 2019, with the British driver having cemented himself as the team’s number one driver.

He is regarded by many as one of the strongest drivers on the grid; however, he is still yet to claim his first victory despite approaching his fifth year at the pinnacle of motorsport.

Norris has arguably had one chance of winning an F1 race and that was the 2021 Russian Grand Prix, an opportunity that he failed to make the most of in agonising fashion.

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To claim a first victory or to be a title contender, Norris will likely need to leave McLaren once his contract expires at the end of 2025.

Red Bull are a side known to have held several talks with the British driver; however, Windsor believes Ferrari would go “all out” to sign the McLaren star should Mercedes sign Leclerc to replace Hamilton.

“Let’s say Lewis stops at the end of ‘24 – let’s say ’23 and see how we go – I would imagine Toto is going to try and go for Charles Leclerc,” Windsor told his Twitch stream.

“It would be a mess probably, putting Leclerc with Russell, but if he’s prepared to put Russell with Hamilton, he’s obviously going to be prepared to put him with Charles Leclerc.

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“Let’s assume Leclerc went from Ferrari to Mercedes to replace Lewis, which is not a completely stupid assumption, what then would Ferrari do? I think they would go massively all out to get Lando.

“And I think Lando at that point would find it quite hard to say no, putting aside all the contractual stuff because I do think that at that level, they can afford to [buy a driver out of their contract].

“I think Lando has got half a chance at Ferrari, if Leclerc goes somewhere to replace Lewis – which would be good, wouldn’t it?”

Windsor has tipped Norris’ relationship with McLaren to potentially destabilise as a result of Oscar Piastri being signed to replace Daniel Ricciardo, with many expecting the 21-year-old to be Norris’ biggest threat.

This could also play a factor in Norris wanting to switch teams, with Ferrari being a “more attractive” option than Red Bull, given that being alongside Max Verstappen at Red Bull would be an immense challenge.

“Would Zak [Brown, McLaren chief executive] stand in his way? Lando would probably say to Zak, ‘look, everything’s been great. We had Daniel, everything was fine, and then you put Piastri in the car and it’s a mess now. I didn’t want it, you’ve done it, I’m out of here, now.’ That’s probably what he would say,” said Windsor.

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“From Lando’s point of view, it’s getting to be quite a difficult situation because if there is a Ferrari drive there, that Ferrari drive will be a lot more attractive, for example, than running alongside Max at Red Bull if Perez retired.

“I think if you’re Lando, if you’re going anywhere you go to either Ferrari or Mercedes. You wouldn’t go alongside Max, even though he might get an offer to do that. So Ferrari for Lando would be mega, wouldn’t it? It’d be great for all of us actually, we’d love it.

“I imagine Pierre Gasly is also thinking that way. He’s thinking, ‘there could be a chance at Ferrari and I want to be in that position to get that.’ Those are the two, I think.”