Norris has ‘no regrets’ over McLaren deal amid driver market craze

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren in the FIA Press Conference. 23.02.2024. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir, Bahrain, Day Three. -, EMail: © Copyright: Charniaux / XPB Images
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Lando Norris says he has no regrets about signing a multi-year contract renewal to remain at McLaren, despite a plum seat subsequently opening up at Mercedes following Lewis Hamilton's move to Ferrari in 2025 and a potential vacancy at Red Bull.

Confirmation that Norris had committed to an extended stay at McLaren came at the end of January, a week before the bombshell news of Hamilton's exit from Mercedes was announced.

Since then the paddock has been bustling with speculation about who will take over from Hamilton with names including Alex Albon, Esteban Ocon, Carlos Sainz and even Fernando Alonso in the mix.

But Norris is not among them, with his new contract rumoured to keep him at McLaren until 2029. Other top drivers similarly locked into place include Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen at Ferrari and Red Bull respectively.

Norris says he doesn't feel he's missed out on the chance of a life time, and that he has no regrets about deciding to stay put at McLaren where he began his F1 career in 2019 in the Australian GP.

“I’m very happy," Norris said in Bahrain this week. "I could have waited [to sign a new contract], I had the choice. I knew opportunities were potentially coming my way.

"I knew what opportunities I had at the time, last year and coming into this year and what could have happened or what is happening over the next couple of years anyway.

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL38. 22.02.2024. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir, Bahrain, Day Two. -, EMail: © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images

“But I’m confident in my team, and confident in what we’ve been able to achieve and what we can achieve going into the future. I’m very happy with where I am,” he continued. "So no regrets from any side.”

This time last year, things looked distinctly gloomy for McLaren after a terrible pre-season test for the squad. They struggled for the first eight races of the season before upgrades emphatically turned things around in Austria.

McLaren's rapid rise in performance was one of the major stories of 2023. The MCL60 ended the season as arguably the next-best car behind the dominant Red Bull as they rebounded to P4 in the constructors championship.


That resurgence - with the promise of more to come this year - means that Norris feels confident he's made the right decision to stay at McLaren for the foreseeable future, alongside team mate Oscar Piastri.

"I’m enjoying my time with the guys that I’m with," he said. "For me, that’s always a big part of my life: I want to enjoy where I am.

“I think that’s an important part of trying to improve as a team at the same time and knowing everyone and pushing everyone," he added. “Everyone’s capable of getting to the goal of being the top team in F1.

“Of course, I could be happier if we were achieving more of the goals that I think we all want to achieve," he admitted. "[But] I'm very happy [staying where I am.”

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