Helmut Marko suggests Lando Norris has saved Sergio Perez

Lando Norris has been linked to Red Bull as a candidate to replace Sergio Perez as Max Verstappen's team-mate.

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has admitted that Lando Norris’ McLaren contract is “unfortunately” too long, making him unavailable to replace Sergio Perez in 2024 or 2025.

Norris is currently contracted to McLaren until the end of 2025, with CEO Zak Brown having insisted that the 23-year-old doesn’t have any exit clauses.

As a result, Red Bull presumably won’t be able to poach the British driver until 2026 at the earliest, when the new power unit regulations are introduced.

Norris replacing Perez has been a big talking point recently, despite the fact the Mexican driver has a deal for 2024.

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is adamant that the Austrians will keep Perez for next season and honour his contract, whereas Marko has admitted that nothing is “certain”.

The 80-year-old is clearly unimpressed by Checo’s lack of consistency, something he’s openly criticised.

“Perez is not consistent, he is not always focused,” Marko said in a programme on ServusTV.

Marko has actually stated that he can “imagine” Norris racing for Red Bull, with the McLaren star and close friend Max Verstappen being very keen to become team-mates one day.

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If it wasn’t for Norris’ deal with McLaren for another two seasons, then perhaps the British driver would’ve been offered a deal by Red Bull for 2024 or possibly even 2025, something which seemingly isn’t going to happen.

“Perez has a contract until 2024 and Norris has a contract until 2025, unfortunately, it’s that long,” Marko said.

Norris has been linked to Red Bull before and previously agreed to race for their sister team, before it was discovered that he could break into F1 with McLaren.

Marko is a big fan of Norris and is confident that his style of racing would suit Red Bull “very well”, suggesting that an approach will be made in the future.

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“He is definitely a candidate for us,” Marko added.

“At Toro Rosso, we had already reached an agreement with him at the time, until his manager realised there was an option for a McLaren contract.

“In terms of youth and speed, he would suit us very well. Sergio, on the other hand, is already over 30 and is expecting his fourth child. So he also has other interests, so you have to see what happens next,” Marko continued.