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Brown on Norris progress: I'm not surprised he's made it

With Lando Norris set to assume the role of team leader at McLaren next year, Zak Brown has hailed the Briton's rise through the racing ranks.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown says he was convinced of Lando Norris' potential as a Formula 1 driver from an early age. Norris was signed as a McLaren junior driver in 2017, and graduated to F1 with the Woking-based team two years later at the age of 19. The Briton has impressed at McLaren, comprehensively overshadowing teammate Daniel Ricciardo over the past two years, and coming very close to winning the 2021 Russian Grand Prix before falling foul of a late rain shower. With Norris' stock on the rise, McLaren moved swiftly earlier this year to tie the Briton down until 2025. Norris is set to take on the role of team leader at Woking in 2023, with rookie Oscar Piastri replacing Ricciardo, and Brown says the Briton's rise through the racing ranks came as little surprise. "The goal was always to get him into Formula 1. I'm not surprised [that's he’s made it]," Brown said in response to a question from RacingNews365.com . "I guess you are surprised when it actually happens, but every step along the way gave me a reason to believe the next step he was going to be great. "But we've seen drivers that have been great along the way. And then when they get to the top, you don't know if it was them or the situation."

Cautionary tales of unfulfilled potential

Brown noted the cases of Jan Magnussen – father of current Haas F1 driver Kevin – and Jos Verstappen – father of reigning World Champion Max – as examples of two drivers whose F1 careers did not live up to the expectations generated by their promising junior careers. "Jan Magnussen was mega at everything, and then it didn't quite work in Formula 1. Jos Verstappen was mega at everything, and didn't quite work in Formula 1," said Brown. "[Norris] was mega at everything, and it has worked in Formula 1, I think what I'm happiest to see is not just his pure pace, but how few mistakes he makes, and how strong his racecraft is now. "If I look at Lando in [2019], he had the pace, but probably didn't have his elbows out enough. And now he's fair, but he's a tough character when you're racing."

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