Ex-Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle believes Lando Norris will soon start “looking around” at other teams, should McLaren’s dreadful start to 2023 continue.
Despite sitting fifth in the Constructors’ Championship, McLaren have endured a woeful start to the season, with the outfit arguably having one of the worst packages on the grid.
The Miami Grand Prix last weekend highlighted just how poor the MCL60 is, with both Norris and Oscar Piastri having been eliminated in Q1.
Norris qualified 16th whilst Piastri could only manage 19th at the Miami International Autodrome, with the race having been no better.
Piastri finished where he started, whilst Norris actually lost a place, with the 23-year-old having claimed P17.
It certainly isn’t where the British driver deserves to be, given that he’s proven over the years that he’s got the pace and the talent to fight amongst the leading teams.
So far this season that just hasn’t been possible, with finishing amongst the top 10 being a big enough challenge as it is for Norris.
Given their struggles, leaving the Woking-based team at the end of the season would be his best option; however, this isn’t possible under his current contract.
Norris is contracted to McLaren until the end of 2025, with the team’s CEO Zak Brown having stressed that the British driver has no way of getting out of his contract early.
So whilst Norris might decide to see what other seats are available in 2024, the Briton won’t be able to depart McLaren.
“Lando will be looking around,” Brundle said on the Sky Sports F1 Podcast.
“He’s got to be looking around but he’s nailed on with the contract and the contract recognition board.
“So he has got a while there and he’s got time, he’s a young man. But McLaren will have to deliver up for the next 18 months or he’ll be scouting around hard.”
Norris’ first real chance of leaving McLaren will come in 2026, a year which will see the new power unit regulations introduced.
This could make choosing a team very difficult given that the field will perhaps reshuffle again, as seen when the new aerodynamic regulations were introduced at the start of last season.
Should Lewis Hamilton retire at the end of 2025, then Mercedes would seem like a solid option for Norris, with the likelihood being that the Silver Arrows will at worst be a top-three team.
He could also decide to remain with McLaren; however, that would arguably be a huge gamble.