Lando Norris could be an F1 world champion of the future alongside Max Verstappen, according to McLaren's former racing director Eric Boullier.
The start of the 2021 season has been a good one for Norris, who secured the second podium finish of his career at Imola and for a time was in third place in the drivers' standings. Following the Spanish Grand Prix Norris slipped down to fourth, but is still 17 points ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo.
Boullier worked with McLaren from 2014 to 2018. Norris joined the team as a junior driver in 2017, and Boullier thinks the 21-year-old has built on the promise he showed back then.
"You have to see what he did in the junior categories to understand that he is F1 material," Boullier told GPblog.
"I guess you can only see in F1 how they mature and then you can see if they are World Champion material which is different. Norris won everything below F1 and is developing very well compared to Ricciardo.
"Not only on a single lap but also in the races, on tyre management. He is developing very well and could be an F1 champion in the future, just like Max."
As well as seeing Norris continue to progress, Boullier has also noticed how McLaren have developed in recent years and he remains hopeful that the Woking-based squad can beat Ferrari to secure third place in the constructors' battle. Furthermore, he believes that McLaren will go on to succeed when the new regulations come into effect in 2022.
"You can see that McLaren over the last three or four years have clearly improved step by step and that’s paying off now," the Frenchman said.
"Because that would be very nice for McLaren and the sport, but there are many factors, first of all the budget cap which might change the way big teams will be working and we hope that the new regulations will give credit to the one on merit, not on resources.
"We’ll see, hopefully in the future, everybody can fight for the championship."