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Lando Norris

Norris reveals that Red Bull switch discussions took place

McLaren's Lando Norris has confirmed that talks took place between himself and Red Bull prior to signing his current deal.

Lando Norris Max Verstappen Azerbaijan GP Baku 2022
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Lando Norris has confirmed that discussions took place with Red Bull prior to signing his current long-term deal with McLaren.

Earlier in the season, it was confirmed that McLaren had secured Norris on a contract that would be in place until the end of the 2025 season.

When the new deal was announced at the start of 2022, Norris had five podiums (now six) and one Pole Position to his name, and almost secured a maiden victory at the 2021 Russian GP, prompting speculation about his future.

It was previously known that Red Bull had an interest in the 22-year-old. Last season, Red Bull Motorsport Advisor Helmut Marko admitted that the team had held talks with Norris.

Even before Norris made his F1 debut, there was a desire to place him at Toro Rosso back in 2019, but he remained as McLaren's reserve driver and continued in Formula 2.

Norris: Decision shows I have faith in McLaren

Ahead of the US Grand Prix, Norris confirmed that discussions had taken place with Red Bull prior to his last contract extension, which would have resulted in a partnership with Max Verstappen.

"Of course there are conversations with other people from time to time," Norris told Auto Motor Und Sport.

"You always ask yourself the question: What is the best thing for my career? After all, I want to win and get world championships.

"There have been talks with Red Bull. They are a team that has been in the top three for years.

"But that just shows even more how much confidence I have in McLaren. Although there were talks, I felt McLaren was better for me to achieve my goals."

McLaren 'running out of excuses'

The aim of bringing McLaren back to the front of the grid looked to be on a strong trajectory in 2021, with the team taking a one-two victory, numerous podiums, and challenging for P3 in the Constructors' Championship.

However, McLaren have been unable to make a regular challenge for podiums since the major changes in technical regulations were introduced in 2022.

Norris commented that whilst he remains content with life at the Woking-based team, he's also aware that the implementation of a new wind tunnel and simulator will increase expectations from 2024.

"I'm super happy and comfortable. I'm enjoying it at McLaren. I enjoy working with the guys. I believe in them. If I didn't, I wouldn't have signed a long-term contract," added Norris.

"My head is looking forwards. My ideas are long-term. We have to keep working continuously. In 2024 and 2025 I will then have my best chance with McLaren.

"This will be our first year where we have no excuses. At the moment we can still make good excuses.

"2024 will be the first year in which we operate with our infrastructure almost at the level of the top teams. The rest is up to us, the people who work here."

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F1 2022 United States Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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