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Why keeping Norris and Ricciardo close could prove crucial for McLaren

While Mercedes, Alfa Romeo and Williams have seen changes to their driver line ups during the winter, McLaren are confident that their Ricciardo and Norris partnership is one of F1's very best.

Ricciardo Norris
To news overview © McLaren

Andreas Seidl has said that retaining the services of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo for the upcoming season could prove key for McLaren as they look to make the most of 2022's new regulations.

Mercedes, Williams and Alfa Romeo have all seen changes to their driver line-ups this winter while the rest of the grid, including McLaren, kept hold of their 2021 stars.

Norris, 22, started the 2021 season in fine form, taking three podiums from his opening nine races while teammate Ricciardo, 32, was only able to score a handful of points.

But it was Ricciardo who ended the season with McLaren's sole victory, leading home a memorable Monza 1-2.

Seidl believes that the Woking-based team boast one of the very best driver pairings in motorsport – and a pairing that will only improve over the course of the 2022 season as team jostle to understand the sport's new cars and regulations.

"I'm absolutely convinced that we definitely have one of the best pairings," said McLaren team boss Seidl, speaking to members of the media including RacingNew365.com.

"If we look at what both guys have pulled off in the past, they have shown that they belong to the best ones in this sport.

"I am very happy that we have this consistency in the line-up, especially when such a change of regulations is happening, which I think is the key to understanding quickly how this is working."

McLaren can expect to see another "step forward" from Norris

Norris hit new heights during the 2021 season, consistently placing in the points and stepping on the podium a career-best four times.

After following Ricciardo to a one-two finish in Monza, the Briton came within touching distance of winning from pole position in Russia before a poorly-judged late tyre call saw Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton snatch victory.

Despite still being one of the younger stars on the grid, the season ahead will be Norris' fourth in F1 and McLaren are expecting yet another step forward in his development.

"If you look at last year, I think Lando has again made a big step forward compared to previous years," continued Seidl.

"Knowing that he is only going into his fourth year in Formula 1 now, you would expect another step to come from him, which is just normal."

Ricciardo will be back to his best after bedding in at McLaren

Ricciardo, meanwhile, did not have it all his own way after swapping Enstone for Woking at the end of the 2020 season.

The former Red Bull racer finished outside the points nine times last term, placing on the podium only once, albeit on the top step.

But McLaren are confident that the 32-year-old is now settled in papaya orange with his best yet to come.

"It was another challenge for him to get used to our car at the beginning of last year, with the limited testing time also," explained Seidl.

"He made a good step forward during the second half of the season, he gave us some great races including a great victory for us in Monza.

"I think based on that experience and the foundations we have put in place here, with the break we have had over the winter with preparation, I am convinced that he will be back showing you some performances."

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