Norris admits speaking to other teams about leaving McLaren

Formula 1's technical regulations have undergone monumental changes ahead of the 2022 season.

McLaren’s Lando Norris is unsure as to whether his team will be in a position to contest race wins this year amid sweeping changes to the technical regulations.

The cars have radically changed ahead of this season, with aerodynamic efficiency reducing in a move inspired by the return of the ground effect concept.

Further, the tyres will increase by five inches in size, and the engines are expected to deliver 20 less horsepower than last season due to a new fuel blend that teams are mandated to use in 2022.

Ferrari are said to have overcome this deficit their partners at Shell and, while Mercedes are eager to see their new power unit take to the circuit in Barcelona in less than two weeks, head of their powertrains division, Hywel Thomas, has conceded that tweaks may have to be made later on down the line before the engines are frozen in March.

McLaren are one of three customer teams to the Brixworth factory, and CEO Zak Brown is managing expectations regarding any forthcoming title challenge from the Woking outfit this year.

Norris has recently signed a new deal with McLaren taking him through to the end of 2025, and he was asked if his signature was a sign of his confidence of a winning package this season.

“Not really,” was his reply to BBC’s Top Gear.

“I just have the confidence in the team,” he added.

Due to the vast distinction both visually and physically this season compared to previous years, the 22-year-old reveals that no one has any reference point to go on, meaning that none of the teams will know how good a job they have done over the winter until the first race of the season.

Article continues below

“What we have this year – we have no idea where it’s going to be against any other team,” he explained.

“There’s literally nothing that can tell us if we’re doing good or bad, other than gossip or rumours that you might hear between teams or from interviews.”

However, the Briton has every confidence in the team he has been with since 2019, and recognises that they are working around the clock to deliver as strong a car as possible this season.

“I have strong faith in everyone at McLaren,” he added.

“They’re working as hard as possible to continue this trend we’ve been on in the last few years, and whether that means we jump up a couple of positions or lose a couple of positions, that’s just the way it is. 

“In year two, three and four of the contract, that’s where more opportunities for us as a team to achieve more will be coming.”

Regarding his new contract, the 22-year-old believes that it will give everyone a lift knowing that he is with them for the long haul.

“This is more for the solidarity of me and the team,” he affirmed. 

“It’s to put confidence in us both for the long term. It was another opportunity for me to confirm my commitment to the team.”

He then went on to reveal that he had held talks with other teams on the grid, but nothing came close to materialising.

“There were little chats here and there [with other teams] but that’s all,” he stated.

“Nothing went very far, and as soon as something came up that’s when I’d go to Andreas [Seidl] and have a little conversation about what our future holds. 

“There’s no point lying about it, there were little things there with various other teams, but nothing that went far at all.”

Norris will once again line up alongside team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in 2022, with the team having narrowly missed out on third in the Constructors’ Championship to Ferrari last year.