Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft believes Lando Norris is the ideal replacement for Max Verstappen, who has hinted at an early retirement from Formula 1 several times.
Verstappen has admitted that he could retire from F1 at the end of 2028, when his current contract expires.
He’s revealed his displeasure at the format being constantly changed, with Verstappen having been against sprint races in particular ever since they were initially discussed.
The reigning World Champion has also voiced his unhappiness at the calendar being expanded, whilst he also doesn’t like the increased amount of marketing work he has to do.
On top of all of that, the 25-year-old has admitted that if Red Bull become a midfield team when the new power unit regulations are introduced in 2026, then he’d either look for something new or retire.
Whatever happens with Verstappen, Red Bull need a “big star” ready to take over from him.
Norris could be that man, especially with his McLaren deal expiring at the end of 2025.
This would allow him to move to Red Bull in 2026, should a seat be available.
He could then partner Verstappen for a few seasons, before taking the lead role in the team should the Dutchman retire.
Croft admits that it’s a “big story”, with a lot of it depending on what sort of car McLaren can offer Norris.
“The more Max says, ‘I might not be around after 2028, I might retire early and do other things’, the more Red Bull feel, ‘We need a big star to be alongside Max for a couple of years, three years, then be our big star to carry on into the future’,” Croft said.
“That suits Lando Norris’ star billing, at the moment. Will he stay around at McLaren longer than his contract? It depends if they give him a car which can challenge for a championship. It’s a slow burner, but it’s a big story.”
Norris is loving the attention but is insistent that he’s focused on his current task with the Woking-based team.
“It’s nice that a lot of people believe that I should have an opportunity to be able to do better than what I’m doing now, or fighting for higher positions that aren’t what I’m fighting for now,” Norris said, as reported by the Mirror.
“If I look at it from that perspective, it’s a compliment that people are saying it.”