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Lando Norris

Why Norris remains loyal to McLaren and ignored Red Bull rumors

Now that Lando Norris has signed a new contract at McLaren, the recent Red Bull rumors can be consigned to the wastebasket (for now). In fact, it is not even surprising that Norris is abandoning Red Bull for now and expressing his confidence in McLaren.

Norris Brazil
Analysis
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Just a day after Ferrari and Charles Leclerc announced a contract extension, McLaren and Lando Norris reaffirmed their commitment to each other with a new deal to keep the Briton at the team beyond 2025.

There were plenty of rumours last season suggesting Norris was in the eyes of Red Bull for the future given his performances and whilst McLaren has been off the boil in recent seasons, a remarkable turn around following changes to the technical team last season will have increased confidence all around.

"The work of Zak Brown, Andrea Stella and the entire team was incredible last year," said Norris as part of the announcement.

"I am confident I can compete for wins with McLaren. I look forward to creating more great memories and continue to work hard in the coming years."

But is Norris' confidence justified and why is he ignoring the recent Red Bull "conspiracies"?

The Verstappen problem

Whilst the Red Bull rumours were never concrete, Christian Horner and Helmut Marko have indicated on numerous occasions that an eye was and has been kept on Norris.

But the prospect of matching up against Max Verstappen may have warned off Norris if a championship is his ultimate goal - though he would for sure back himself to beat the Dutchman, can the risk of going up against him in what is his team really be worth it?

Norris' position at McLaren mirrors Verstappen's at Red Bull and it is clear the Woking-based outfit has full confidence in the driver it gave a first F1 opportunity to in 2019.

That feeling is reciprocated and Norris has indicated he wants to give back to McLaren and help turn fortunes around 360 degrees. For that dream to become true, the next hurdle to overcome is a maiden F1 victory.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown and Team Principal Andrea Stella undoubtedly would have played a role in the extension, with stability now brought to the team's management structure. Stella knows exactly how he wants the team to be run from a technical aspect and displayed confidence in the factory throughout last term.

The additions of Rob Marshall from Red Bull and David Sanchez from Ferrari were major coups for McLaren and sets the team up for a return to the top of F1.

Risk or reward?

Though Norris' choice is also a risk, clearly the team is improving dramatically.

But the last time it competed for the title was in 2012, only for form to dramatically drop since. The Honda partnership failed mid-decade and the management of the team changed drastically.

What is the biggest threat to Norris in the coming years? Teammate Piastri. The Australian left a resounding impression in his debut season.

It could cause strife internally if Piastri improves to challenge Norris' status but for now, Norris remains McLaren's darling in the quest for wins and titles.

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