Lando Norris says long-term contract naysayers ‘misunderstood’: ‘McLaren is the best place for me’

Lando Norris, who is tied to McLaren until the end of 2025, spoke exclusively to Sky Sports F1 about why he is confident about the team’s future and why he has not been tempted to move despite his F1 form

Last update: 06/07/22 13:03

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Sky F1’s Natalie Pinkham is joined by McLaren’s Lando Norris for a chat ahead of his home race at the British Grand Prix.

Sky F1’s Natalie Pinkham is joined by McLaren’s Lando Norris for a chat ahead of his home race at the British Grand Prix.

Lando Norris has hit back at “nonsensical” naysayers about his McLaren contract and insisted he is confident about the team’s future and its “long-term game”.

Norris, 22, signed a new contract until the end of 2025 earlier this year, with McLaren able to tie down the rising British F1 superstar despite not winning a title since Lewis Hamilton’s crown in 2008 and returning to the middle on the field.

Norris admitted he spoke to other teams before committing to his future, and the length of the contract raised eyebrows given his current ability and title-winning potential.

But asked by Sky Sports F1 in a British GP exclusive what he would say to doubters, Norris replied: “They’re helpless!”

McLaren's Lando Norris cruised through the British Grand Prix with Damon and Jensen after finishing sixth, but saved extra praise for his friend and race winner Carlos Sainz.

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McLaren’s Lando Norris cruised through the British Grand Prix with Damon and Jensen after finishing sixth, but saved extra praise for his friend and race winner Carlos Sainz.

McLaren’s Lando Norris cruised through the British Grand Prix with Damon and Jensen after finishing sixth, but saved extra praise for his friend and race winner Carlos Sainz.

“I don’t know why … everybody thinks they know, he definitely could have gone here, he could have done that,” he added.

“But most of the time they know absolutely nothing, all these people come to these conclusions.”

Jenson Button, the Sky Sports F1 pundit, ex-McLaren driver and 2009 world champion, was one of those who said he was “surprised” by the contract, while Norris admitted it “comes from people I have a lot of respect for and of course I respect their opinion.”

Lewis Hamilton jokingly steals Lando Norris' Union Jack inspired bucket hat during the drivers' parade for the British Grand Prix!

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Lewis Hamilton jokingly steals Lando Norris’ Union Jack inspired bucket hat during the drivers’ parade for the British Grand Prix!

Lewis Hamilton jokingly steals Lando Norris’ Union Jack inspired bucket hat during the drivers’ parade for the British Grand Prix!

“But at the same time,” he explained. “I have a good team around me, so we know where I want to be and when, what the team can offer me in the future.

“I still believe it’s the best place for me because I grew up there, I know what’s in store.”

McLaren finished fourth in the constructors’ standings last year and is back in that position after 10 races in 2022, well behind Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes.

But Norris said, “I’ve played, let’s say, a little bit more of a long-term game than a short-term one.”

Daniel Ricciardo fouls Lando Norris as the McLaren drivers go head-to-head in a space hopper race at Silverstone.

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Daniel Ricciardo fouls Lando Norris as the McLaren drivers go head-to-head in a space bunker race at Silverstone.

Daniel Ricciardo fouls Lando Norris as the McLaren drivers go head-to-head in a space bunker race at Silverstone.

Norris also accepted that it was not certain he would be as successful if he left McLaren, exemplified by the struggles of his teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who won eight races alongside him at McLaren.

“It’s tough,” Norris said. “I haven’t been in that situation so it’s hard for me to speak for other people, but you see a lot of other drivers, not just Daniel, going from team to team and obviously it’s not easy to just go in and nail it.

“It really takes time. Some manage to do it faster than others, but that just shows how challenging it is, it shows that it’s not an easy car to drive, you have to understand everything to be on the edge.”

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