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Lando Norris

Norris after shutting down F1 conspiracies: 'I owe it to McLaren'

Norris has signed a contract extension with McLaren to dismiss any rumours of a switch to Red Bull - which emerged last season.

Norris Brazil
To news overview © XPBimages

Lando Norris feels he 'owes' McLaren loyalty after putting rumours over his F1 future to bed with a contract extension with the team.

The British driver was contracted through to the end of 2025 under his previous deal but the announcement of a new multi-year extension ahead of the upcoming season will take him well beyond that deadline - keeping the current partnership with Oscar Piastri alive until at least the end of 2026.

Norris had been subjected to rumours of a potential switch to Red Bull last season, with comments made by Christian Horner and Helmut Marko indicating their appreciation of his talents.

But speaking to media after the extension was officially revealed, Norris insisted: "I definitely always wanted to be convinced McLaren is my future.

"Of course, we've gone through some harder years recently and things definitely didn't pick up as much as we were hoping between 2020, '21, '22 and the beginning of '23, but a lot has changed. "

McLaren's slow start sparked warning signs last term but a remarkable turnaround saw Norris pick up seven podiums en route to securing the team fourth in the Constructors' standings.

"There's always going to be little things going on backwards and forwards between people," added Norris.

"But in terms of keeping my concentration where it needs to be, which is just on the driving and continuing to focus on that, especially with how we turned things around last year and with what we know we can still achieve and do with even more things coming our way in terms of personnel and infrastructure - there's still things which are coming online and just getting warmed up.

"So considering we were able to do what we did last year, considering it is a team I have been with since the beginning and I want to continue my story with in terms of reaching my goal of winning races and championships - McLaren is a team I want to do it with.

"They're the ones who brought me into F1 and they've given me this opportunity, so in some ways I feel like I owe it to them, but I'm very much part of the family and very much enjoying where I am.

"That's always a big part of it - I don't want to join a different team and not enjoy anything, so there's definitely those considerations to make.

"I'm part of the family and excited to be part of that family, especially on the trajectory that we're on, I think it's been the most important factor of all of this and we have decided to see where that continues to take us."

Extension settling for McLaren

With the rumours around his future persisting through last season, Norris was asked whether it was a relief to be able to put the theories firmly behind him.

"I mean I enjoyed them to be honest, I always enjoy seeing what is written now and then," he replied.

"But not so much [relief] for me. I'm always focused on what I need to be focused on.

"I think for the whole team, when you work and have one of your drivers... see them getting linked to other teams, that's probably never an easy thing to see and probably question it at times.

"So from my side, to give everyone at McLaren a bit more confidence in me and it shows my confidence in the whole team - I think that is the most important thing and the thing I am happiest with about getting the contract out.

"They're even more assured that I'm committed to the team and staying and that I've picked McLaren over Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes or whatever team it could have been, they now have that reassurance.

"So it is more [a relief] for them than it is for myself. I do enjoy seeing the rumours and conspiracies every now and then."

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