Red Bull: Norris and Piastri ‘interesting for us’ in the future

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Helmut Marko has made Red Bull’s interest in Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri clear, but the Austrian tempered expectations by stating that neither McLaren driver is an option in the short term.

Norris has long been on Red Bull's radar. The talented Briton, who is currently contracted to McLaren until at least 2026, has been linked to the Milton Keynes team for several years.

Team principal Christian Horner has publicly acknowledged past discussions with Norris who was once considered for a seat at Toro Rosso a year before his promotion to Formula 1 with McLaren in 2019.

However, the Woking-based outfit has continually locked Norris down with contract extensions to fend off interest from the likes of Red Bull.

The allure of Norris for Red Bull is clear. The team sees him as a potential long-term teammate for Max Verstappen, or perhaps as the Dutchman’s successor should the three-time world champion decide to call it a day on his life and times in F1 at the end of his current deal which runs until 2028.

The two young talents get along well and have even discussed the possibility of racing together.

Speaking to ServusTV, the Red Bull-owned network, Marko confirmed that Norris is “certainly in our focus”.

“His father always jokes that Lando won’t celebrate his first Grand Prix victory until Max retires,” he added. “I told him that he had to come to us, then it would definitely go faster.”

But McLaren may need to extend its protective contract stance to Piastri as the talented Aussie is also a driver of interest for Red Bull.

“Norris has at least a contract until 2026, so he is not an option in the short term, nor is Oscar Piastri,” Marko admitted.

“But both drivers are certainly interesting for us in the future.”

In the near term, Red Bull has yet to decide who will partner Verstappen at the Milton Keynes-based outfit next season, with Sergio Perez’s contract with the team expiring at the end of 2024.

Red Bull has the option of promoting one of its in-house drivers, with Daniel Ricciardo, Yuki Tsunoda and official reserve Liam Lawson all potential contenders for the plum seat.

But Marko has also alluded to free agent Carlos Sainz as a potential candidate, although the Austrian has admitted that Red Bull “cannot match or beat” a significant offer recently tabled by Audi-Sauber for the outbound Ferrari driver’s services.

Ahead of last weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, Marko indicated that a status quo at Red Bull Racing is currently the most probable option.

"It's clear that Checo is having his best season since he's been with us," Marko told Kleine Zeitung.

"If he maintains this performance, as he did in qualifying in Japan, then he will surely be the best option for Red Bull in 2025."

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