‘Frustrated’ Lando Norris poised for early McLaren exit amid Red Bull interest

McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri were forced to retire from the first race of the 2023 season with mechanical issues.

Heading into the Bahrain Grand Prix, not much was expected from McLaren, who had already admitted that they were behind schedule with the MCL60.

While the team were not expected to be competing for a huge haul of points, they were expected to at least finish the Grand Prix, something which neither driver was able to do.

Oscar Piastri’s F1 debut came to a swift end after the Australian was called into the pits to retire with an issue without even completing a quarter of the race.

Lando Norris then began to experience a pneumatic issue and was forced to pit five times to maintain the problem before also retiring from the race, causing McLaren to start the season off with a double DNF.

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Norris has repeatedly put his faith in McLaren’s long-term project, even signing a long-term contract with the team to commit his future to McLaren.

The Brit has been heavily linked to Red Bull in recent seasons but Sky Sports pundit Karun Chandhok has suggested that the energy drink giants will not be the only team after Norris if he becomes fed up with his current employers.

“I tell you who will be thinking about a move to Ferrari or Red Bull though is young Lando Norris,” he told the Sky Sports F1 podcast.

“Looking at where they’re [McLaren] at, and we were talking before about the season of McLaren locking him in and Zak [Brown] doing an amazing job of contracting him in for that four-year period.

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“I do wonder, and if they’re smart they would have created some sort of exit clauses.

“For example, McLaren don’t finish in the top four of the constructors’ championship two years in a row, is there an option for Lando to look elsewhere?

“Because outside of the traditional top three teams, you’ve got Fernando [Alonso] and Lando who are your top two drivers on the grid aren’t they.

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“And the fact he is fighting to even get a car into Q3, there’s got to be a bit of frustration there I would imagine.”

Norris has claimed that he is happy with his current situation at McLaren and does not plan on jumping ship anytime soon however McLaren’s dismal start to the season could see the Brit rethink his future.

With Lewis Hamilton’s future at Mercedes unknown and Sergio Perez out of contract at Red Bull at the end of next season, there is no shortage of opportunities for Norris to switch teams.