Lando Norris could find himself being forced out of McLaren by a series of strong performance from Oscar Piastri, according to Formula 1 team manager Peter Windsor.
The Australian’s skill has been evident on track, even with the challenges presented by the poor performance from the car.
Piastri joined McLaren at the start of 2023, replacing his fellow Australian Daniel Ricciardo, with the team hoping that the rookie driver would help to push Norris by providing more competition internally.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Windsor argued that Piastri has the potential to rise to the top of the sport, even having the skill to thrive at Red Bull or compete on level terms with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.
“From what I’ve seen now, I think he’s got short corners,” Windsor said, addressing Piastri’s start to the season.
“I think he’s got lovely touch. I think he drives really, really well and he’s got enormous potential.
“In a Red Bull right now, he’d be really quick.
“In a Ferrari, he’d be not far away from Sainz out of the box.
“It’s very early days [so] obviously he’s not as quick as George [Russell] or Lewis [Hamilton] or Charles [Leclerc] or Max [Verstappen].
“But I think he’s potentially right up there. And this is the problem for Lando.
“I’m not saying that Lando’s not as quick if not quicker.
“I think Lando’s got enormous potential as well, but he’s in danger at the moment of going sideways in terms of his career at McLaren and Piastri has got nothing to lose at McLaren.
“He can only gain by looking good alongside Lando.
“This is an important year for Lando because he needs to come out of it basically being three tenths to five tenths quicker than Piastri everywhere and blowing him away. That’s not happening yet.
“And if it’s not happening, Lando needs to be in another team getting his career going with some sort of skyrocket because Piastri’s eating into Lando’s stock right now, I think.”
Windsor was originally critical of McLaren over its decision to drop Ricciardo after only two seasons at the team, believing he had had a strong pairing with Norris.
Now, Windsor fears the changing dynamic at the team could lead Norris to seek other options on the grid.
While Norris is tied into a contract with McLaren until 2025, he has previously been linked to Mercedes and Red Bull, with many seeing him as a future world champion.