Norris is considered one of the hottest prospects in F1 and finished an impressive seventh in the 2022 championship standings, behind only the Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes drivers. 

The 23-year-old has claimed six podiums and a pole position and although he is yet to win his first grand prix, Brown is adamant Norris has already proved he is one of the best drivers on the grid. 

Will Lando Norris be F1 world champion with McLaren?

Asked if he considers Norris to be among the top F1 drivers, Brown told ESPN: “Definitely.

“[He’s unbelievably fast. He pulls it out in qualifying all the time. He can put a lap together. He rarely makes mistakes - when he does they're very small. It’s he missed the apex, he locked a brake, but you don't see him sticking it in the fence.

"His race craft is really strong now. If I look at year one, he was a little too polite on track at times. Now he's someone you can race hard with and he'll race you hard, he's clean but he's hard, he gets his elbows out. He can manage tyres very well.” 

Brown added: “I think he is as good as anyone on the grid and I've felt that from day one when I put him against Fernando in the 24 Hours of Daytona, foreign car, foreign track.

"I think Fernando is as good as any F1 driver there's every been... and Lando matches him, and depending on what time of day it was, maybe he even got him a little bit, and vice versa.

"You see that natural talent. You do get some drivers who are a one-make discipline and you throw them in a unique situation and they don't get up to speed as quickly.”

Norris is in his fifth F1 season and is tied down to McLaren until the end of 2025, but that hasn’t stopped rival teams from showing an interest

But Brown is determined to keep hold of the Briton and build McLaren around him, describing him as a “franchise driver”. 

“Lando's one of those guys if we put everyone in a dirt buggy and we put all the F1 drivers in a race, he'd be at the front because he's got that kind of natural talent,” Brown said. 

"He's a total star. And he's pushing us."