Lando Norris says he didn’t just speak to Red Bull when mulling McLaren exit

Lando Norris signed a new contract in 2022, keeping him at McLaren until the end of 2025

Every Formula 1 driver wants security, with Valtteri Bottas telling reporters recently that he is loving the reduced pressure brought by his multi-year contract at Alfa Romeo being on one end of the spectrum, and Mick Schumacher who is fighting a losing battle for his Haas seat at the other end.

Lando Norris is one of the lucky few to be given a long-term contract, especially at such a young age, signing a new deal earlier this year to tie him down until the end of 2025.

“I’ve always been happy with McLaren, as much as I could be happier, I’ve always been happy,” Norris told reporters.

“Before I’ve ever spoken to anyone else, my talks have always been with McLaren first, that’s always how it goes.

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F1 is a ruthless sport, with some drivers only getting a year or two to prove themselves before being replaced by the next wave of rookies, and Norris has agreed that the security of a long-term contract is reassuring.

“As much as sometimes you might like what could happen, the best thing for me is signing the contract that I have now, just having that confidence that you’re going to be in F1, and the knowledge that you’re going to be in F1 for three, four, five years.

“For me that’s like the best feeling, just because it makes you more relaxed, more comfortable in the environment that you’re in.”

The 22-year-old was given his F1 debut in 2019 by McLaren, and despite scoring six podiums so far, the team have not yet been able to give him a car that could challenge for wins in normal conditions, with many tipping Norris to have the quality to become a world champion.

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Norris made a comment in a recent interview claiming that he spoke to Red Bull before renewing with McLaren and was asked to clarify before the Mexican Grand Prix, revealing that it was not just the energy drink giants that he held talks with.

“It’s more just I was coming to the end of my contract, and it wasn’t like we were talking heavily,” he explained.

“I literally said, it was just, everyone always tries to speak to all teams at some point, so I spoke to them, I spoke to a few other people.

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“A chat’s a chat, it’s not like, ‘what can we do straight away?’ Just keeping in touch, things like that, it’s as simple as that sometimes.

“It was just coming to the end of the contract, you see what options are available, you just kind of find out what’s possible, what might be possible over the next few years.

“It wasn’t just Red Bull. Every driver has chats with a lot of different teams on what could happen, and it’s as simple as that basically.”