With the McLaren Formula 1 team on the up and up, just what does the Lando Norris contract extension mean for the team?
The Lando Norris contract extension announced by McLaren couldn’t come at a better time for the Woking-based team.
Having steadily risen up the ladder over the past several seasons, McLaren are in the midst of enjoying a resurgence. Securing third in the Constructors’ Championship in 2020, and currently occupying third place in the championship this season.
The signing of Norris provides McLaren with stability in the team for the foreseeable future. While exact details have not been released, it is understood Norris is signed through to at least the end of the 2023 season. Bringing him in line with teammate, Daniel Ricciardo.
Now into his third Formula 1 season with McLaren, Norris has clearly shown his potential. Developing and improving in all aspects of his racing, which ultimately led to McLaren CEO Zak Brown renewing his contract.
“I’m delighted with the extension of our agreement with Lando for 2022 and beyond,” Brown said. “He’s been instrumental in our return of form here at McLaren and we’re proud of the growth he’s shown since he first started with us back in 2017.
“Lando is one of the brightest talents on the Formula 1 grid and we look forward to seeing him continue to go from strength-to-strength both on and off track.”
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) May 19, 2021
A Formula 1 World Champion in the making?
Since joining McLaren in 2017 as a test and simulator driver, Norris has flourished. Off to a somewhat slow start in his rookie year, back in 2019, it didn’t take him long to shift his performance up a gear.
Working on increasing his level of aggression while racing, and provided with the confidence to take more chances by Team Principal Andreas Seidl, would soon pay off. Coming in the form of two podium finishes.
And, one thing is clear. Norris believes his best shot at winning races and contending for the championship will come with McLaren.
“I’m really pleased to have extended my relationship with McLaren from 2022,” Norris said. “Having been with the team for almost five years, I feel very much part of the family here and I couldn’t imagine starting the next phase of my career anywhere else. McLaren has been a huge support since my days in junior series and I’ve really enjoyed learning and developing as a driver since.
“My commitment to McLaren is clear: my goal is to win races and become Formula 1 World Champion and I want to do that with this team. Since joining in 2017 our progression has been consistent and we have clear ambitions together for the future.
“I want to say thank you to Zak and Andreas for the belief they’ve shown in me since the beginning, and to the whole team for giving me such a strong environment to continue my career in. We’ve already had some incredible moments together which I’ll never forget – two podiums and securing P3 in the championship – and together with Daniel and the rest of the team I’m looking forward to pushing for even more success in the years to come.”
Now the good news is out there, let’s hear from the man himself shall we?
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) May 19, 2021
The road ahead for McLaren
As mentioned, the biggest thing to come out of Norris’ contract extension, is the stability it provides for the team. Having both drivers locked in for at least the first two years under the new regulations can only be seen as a positive.
With the consistency and working knowledge of the car that both drivers bring, likely to assist McLaren with further updates. Not only during the early stages of development in 2022, but into the future.
The new regulations are expected to bring the field closer together and provide more equality across the teams. That being said, having two drivers that are consistently in the points will be vital in order for McLaren to compete with the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull.
The pairing of Norris and Ricciardo for the next three years, including this season, provides the team with that consistency. Norris has shown his ability to compete with the best, while Ricciardo has a winning track record.
All in all, McLaren are inching that bit closer to being back at the top where they belong.