Ex-Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher believes that it’s “difficult to estimate” how close Lando Norris and Red Bull actually are, due to the way the paddock behaves nowadays.
Norris has been linked to Red Bull for a couple of seasons now, with the McLaren driver having actually held talks with the side prior to signing his contract extension last season.
The 23-year-old is very much admired by Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko, who previously admitted that he can “imagine” Norris racing for the Austrians.
Norris is currently contracted until the end of 2025, a deal which hasn’t got an exit clause, according to McLaren CEO Zak Brown.
With that in mind, a move to the likes of Red Bull cannot happen until 2026 at the earliest, although Marko recognises that several teams will try to sign the talented young driver.
“Norris has a firm contract until the end of 2025,” Marko told the F1-Insider. “After that, he will be very interesting for many teams.”
Most seem to expect that Norris will move to Red Bull at some point in his career, given how close he is to reigning World Champion Max Verstappen.
Both Norris and Verstappen have recently admitted that they’d like to be team-mates one day, something which is more likely to happen at Red Bull than McLaren, given that Verstappen is contracted until the end of 2028.
Norris and Red Bull already appear to be very close, although Schumacher notes that this is seen in various areas across the paddock.
Schumacher recognises that F1 today is a very “different dynamic”, with drivers often being seen speaking and joking around with other teams.
For example, Norris is often seen with ex-team-mate Carlos Sainz, to the extent that Schumacher admits it’s like they’re still partners.
Because of this, the German thinks it’s tricky to understand exactly what is going on due to so many drivers being friendly with other teams.
“I find it difficult to estimate because when I look at how we treated each other back then, as opposed to today’s drivers, it’s a different dynamic,” Schumacher told Formel1.de.
“One gets the impression that Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz are still teammates on Sundays.
“After the race, it was incredible; Carlos Sainz was there with his former team and was talking to them. It was interesting to see how close they were.”