McLaren boss Zak Brown says Lando Norris will remain with team papaya until at least the end of his contract in 2025, squashing rumors of an early switch to Red Bull for the talented young Briton.
Red Bull has never denied its interest in Norris, but the prospect of the latter joining the bulls in the future gained a bit of credibility among pundits in Monza following the McLaren driver's comments on him being open to racing alongside Max Verstappen.
The pair enjoy a good relationship off the track and frequently share spare time together in Monte-Carlo where they both reside.
"It’s definitely something I would be open to in the future," said Norris ahead of this weekend's Italian Grand Prix.
"I think I can happily say Max is probably one of the best drivers ever in the history of Formula 1. I never raced against him until I was in Formula 1, but I was always in the category below. In karting I already knew him reasonably well.
"Back in 2012-2013 was the first time I got to meet him and get to know him, so I’ve been able to witness what he’s doing, and I think it’s not just that he’s in a good car and he’s able to perform.
"I think no matter what car he’s in, he’ll be able to perform at a similar level.
"It’d be great to work alongside someone like that and, at the same time, see where I can really stand against him. I’d be open to it.
"I invited him to McLaren the other day. So, if he wants to come any time, he’s very welcome."
Norris is contracted to McLaren until the end of the 2025 season, and the Briton has frequently expressed his long-term allegiance to the team that promoted him to F1 in 2019 and his desire to achieve success with McLaren in the future.
Speaking to German website Motorsport-Total, Brown made clear that McLaren had no intention of releasing Norris early.
"Lando will be racing at McLaren through 2025. For sure," asserted Brown.
However, with McLaren still seeking an engine partner from 2026, when F1 introduces its next power unit regulations, it has been suggested that Norris could serve as a bargaining chip to help the Woking-based outfit secure an engine dal with Red Bull Powertrains-Ford.
But Brown played down McLaren's interest in partnering with RBP-Ford, insisting such a collaboration is just one of several opportunities currently being weighed by the team.
"We did go visit Red Bull and their facilities and what they're doing is impressive," he added.
Over at Red Bull, while team boss Christian Horner is attentive to Norris' achievements in F1, he insisted that the team would not seek to buy out the Briton's contract with McLaren.
"Lando is a great driver, there's no doubt about that, and you can see his potential is growing," he explained. "But he's a McLaren driver, and you have to respect the agreements that are in place.
"He's doing a great job in the sport and of course we have our drivers confirmed for ’24. In ’25 we have one seat open and, as you can imagine, there's not a shortage of interest in that seat.
"But it's a long way away at the moment."