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Ex-McLaren driver 'surprised' by Norris commitment

Lando Norris's McLaren deal runs to the end of 2025 - locking him into the team for a further three seasons.

Jenson Button has admitted his "surprise" at Lando Norris's decision to sign a long-term Formula 1 deal with McLaren. Norris penned a deal with the team in 2022, committing his future to the Woking squad until '25 having made his Grand Prix debut with the squad in '19. Regarded as one of the best drivers in the midfield, Norris has been touted as a replacement for Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes or for a seat at long-time admirers Red Bull alongside Max Verstappen. And Button - who drove for McLaren between 2010 and 2017 has admitted his surprise Norris has locked himself in for so long.

Button's Norris surprise

"I was surprised when he signed a long-term deal," the 2009 World Champion told Sky Sports F1. "Because in this sport, you don’t know who’s at the front and you need to be in a winning car. "Your talent is not enough to bring a car to the front. "You can help them develop, but you need to be in a competitive car that can win races and McLaren haven’t given him that. "They’re doing well, but at this point in his career, he needs to be in a winning car. "So let's see what happens over the next couple of years, I really do hope that teams like McLaren, Alpine and Aston Martin will be closer to the top three and even challenging. “That was the whole idea with the budget cap, and also the wind tunnel time that the top teams get a lot less when they perform well in a season for the next year. “So hopefully we’re going to start seeing benefits from that in 2023, ‘24 I think we’ll see it even more so." Button - a winner of 15 Grands Prix - also believes Norris's incoming rookie teammate Oscar Piastri will face a lot of pressure. "He [Norris] has got a lot of time on his hands,” Button explained. "He’s still young [is] very quick [and his] new team-mate in [Oscar] Piastri, again is very talented. "[It] puts a lot of pressure on both of them with Piastri coming into Formula 1 and jumping straight in a relatively competitive car."

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