Lando Norris told he won’t have same ‘opportunity’ as Charles Leclerc and George Russell

Lando Norris has been having a standout season with McLaren this year, scoring multiple podiums.

Matt Howson, a Le Mans champion and driver coach, recently shared his insights and connections with multiple drivers on the current Formula 1 grid during an episode of the On Track GP Podcast. 

Having coached several of these drivers as they transitioned from karting to single-seater racing, Howson has had the unique opportunity to witness and nurture their natural talents up close.

As Lewis Hamilton’s first-ever teammate in car racing, teaming up with him in 2001, Howson has a deep-rooted connection to the seven-time Formula 1 World Champion. 

Furthermore, he has played a pivotal role in the development of drivers like Charles Leclerc, George Russell, and Lando Norris as they embarked on their motorsport journeys.

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Howson, recognised for his Le Mans triumph in the LMP2 class alongside On Track GP regular Richard Bradley, delved into his career and the significant role he has played in shaping the future stars of motorsport. 

Working closely with emerging talents, especially in the Formula Renault series, has allowed him to refine their natural skills and guide them toward Formula 1 success.

Leclerc, Norris, and Russell currently stand out as some of the brightest young talents in Formula 1. 

Leclerc and Russell, along with Oscar Piastri, share a remarkable distinction of winning the F3/GP3 and F2/GP2 titles in consecutive years during their rookie seasons. 

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Howson emphasised the “alien” talents possessed by these drivers, even at a young age.

When asked to predict which of these promising talents might accumulate the most Formula 1 World Championships in their careers, Howson acknowledged that all three are closely matched. 

He believes that their future achievements will hinge on the career decisions they make. 

However, he expressed particular optimism about Charles Leclerc’s potential, highlighting his unique gift and talent.

“In Formula 1, it’s going to depend on circumstance,” Howson stated on the On Track GP Podcast. 

“Charles being with Ferrari, if he stays with Ferrari, I think he’s the one that still hasn’t shown exactly what he can do. 

“Carlos [Sainz] has obviously been really strong this year, but I think from what everyone has seen of Charles in the junior formulae, he has got that unbelievable gift and talent that when things all start to click, then I think he’s going to be unstoppable.”

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Regarding George Russell, Howson recognised his remarkable debut with Mercedes in Bahrain in 2020, where he nearly clinched victory, highlighting Russell’s extraordinary talent. 

He also praised Russell’s ability to challenge Lewis Hamilton within the Mercedes team.

“Mclaren as well, I just don’t know if McLaren can take those two on.

“Lando is capable of it; it’s very clear that I think all three of those drivers are on the same level, but the opportunity is going to be there for Charles or George,” Howson remarked.