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Button surprised by Norris contract amid news of Verstappen clause

Lando Norris recently put pen to paper on a new long-term contract that promises to keep him with McLaren until at least the end of 2025.

Jenson Button has admitted that he was surprised to see Lando Norris commit his long-term future to McLaren, given his age and obvious talent. Norris, 22, already has five F1 podiums to his name and came close to a maiden win in Russia in 2021 – before sliding off the road late in the race as rain intensified. During the winter, he was rewarded with a new four-year deal that will see him stay with McLaren until the end of the 2025 season. But Button has questioned his decision to do so, adding that he does not know a driver who would dare sign a contract any longer than two years in length.

Button: Norris deal a big surprise for me

It comes with McLaren currently struggling for performance following the opening two rounds of the new F1 season. Norris finished 15th in Bahrain before scoring his first points of the season with a seventh-placed finish in Saudi Arabia. Speaking about Norris' new contract in an interview with Sky Sports , Button said: "I don't know why he would sign a contract for so long. "It's a surprise for me. I know continuity is great in the sport but who knows what is going to happen in two years, three years? "I don't know any drivers that would sign [a contract] over two years in this sport, but it's four years, isn't it?"

Norris can be confident he has long F1 future

Button reckons Norris should have had more confidence that his future in F1 is secure, leaving him without the need to sign a long contract. "He is gaining experience and speed [and] almost won a race last season. I don't see the point of signing a long-term contract," continued Button. "You're going to be wanted. It's not like they're not going to want you in two years' time."

Verstappen's contract has "escape clause"

Norris is not the only driver tied down to a long-term contract in F1, with Charles Leclerc having put pen to paper on a lengthy deal at Ferrari. Meanwhile, new World Champion Max Verstappen recently committed his long-term future to Red Bull, signing a fresh contract that will stretch all the way until 2028. But Helmut Marko has since revealed that Verstappen has an "escape clause" in his terms that would allow him to move teams if Red Bull were to slide down the pecking order. When confirming Norris' new deal earlier this year, McLaren stressed that there are "no get-outs, on both sides" . "I don't know if there are options [in Norris' deal]; it's a surprise," continued Button. "He obviously has his reasons and he's happy where he is, so fair play to him."

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