Norris will ‘ask the same questions as Hamilton' amid McLaren's "fading" form

F1 legend Martin Brundle has suggested that McLaren will need to turn things around quickly if they’re going to retain star driver Lando Norris.
Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir, Bahrain, Day Three.
-, EMail:
Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir, Bahrain, Day…

After finishing third in the constructors’ championship in 2020, McLaren has slipped back in the F1 standings in consecutive years.

F1 2023 started off poorly for McLaren as Norris finished well down the order following a recurring technical issue in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, while new teammate Oscar Piastri retired early on.

Remote video URL

With McLaren making no progress in terms of becoming a race-winning team again, Norris’ future has been a major talking point.

Norris’ current deal runs out at the end of 2025, although his starring performances over the past two seasons have attracted the attention of Red Bull, while he’s been mooted as a potential replacement for Lewis Hamilton should he retire.

Speaking on the latest episode of the Sky Sports F1 podcast, Brundle - who raced in F1 between 1984 and 1996 - warned McLaren that if they can’t give Norris a competitive car then he will have to look elsewhere. 

“He’s got time on his side but the years start slipping past,” he said. “He will be asking the same questions as George [Russell, as Lewis [Hamilton], as Charles [Leclerc] like ‘what are we doing about this?’

“‘Tell me how you’re going to close the gap to Red Bull and who’s going to do that and why? Where are the resources coming from and how does the cost cap affect this?’

“It’s a reasonable question from a driver and I think if he doesn’t get the right answers at a suitable point, if he can jump into what looks like a race or championship winning car then he’ll have to take it.”

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL60. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir, Bahrain, Qualifying
Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL60. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1,…

Brundle believes Norris would be a “more easy fit” at one of the top teams than Hamilton, if he wanted to look outside of Mercedes.

“F1 contracts tend to be 100 pages long and there’s lots in them now,” he added. “He ought to have an exit route out of there - to sign such a long deal there’s got to be performances clause. My concern is if I was in team Lando would be the performance is dropping away each season - it’s not getting better and better. 

“If you look at how it’s been going it looks like it’s actually fading and that’s a great concern in that respect. If he’s got a performance clause in there… I don’t see Lando going anywhere as a number two. Contracts don’t say that anyway but even if he were to be perceived that way he would soon change that with his speed. 

“He will need to see some light at the end of a much shorter tunnel than he’s got now in terms of where it’s all heading otherwise he will start getting frustrated. He won’t be any use to the team. I could see Lando dropping into Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes as a more easy fit than what on earth does Lewis do from here? 

“I could see Lando being able to drive for the other three teams, or Aston Martin for that matter, if they become championship contenders. On the face of it, it was odd to sign such a long deal at his age.”

Read More