Alex Albon issues Max Verstappen warning to driver with Red Bull ‘open invitation’

Michelle Foster
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen and Alex Albon standing for the national anthem in Miami.

Max Verstappen and former teammate Alex Albon.

Lando Norris has an “open” invitation to join Max Verstappen at Red Bull but Alex Albon questions whether the McLaren driver should do it.

Although Norris has been with McLaren since he arrived in Formula 1 in 2019, this season the Briton has been linked to a move to Red Bull alongside his good friend Verstappen.

While Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko has said the 23-year-old has all the attributes the reigning World Champions would want, Christian Horner admits they are keeping an eye on him.

Alex Albon warns Lando Norris being Max Verstappen’s team-mate is not easy

The move, though, wouldn’t take place for another two years as Norris signed a long-term contract with McLaren back in 2022, one that only expires at the end of 2025.

But with McLaren on the up this season, the Woking team emerging as Red Bull’s nearest challenger, former Verstappen team-mate Albon questions whether Norris should rather stay where he is.

“I think if he wants to [move to Red Bull], yes,” he told Sky F1, “but let’s see because I think no one enjoys to be Max’s team-mate.

“It’s hard, I have experience with that. But if he’s confident in himself, which he should be…

“From what I hear, the invitation has been open for a while.

“But it’s hard to say now because he has, just like I have Williams, you can tell the relationship Lando has with McLaren is very strong. And now it looks like there’s no reason to change.”

Sky Sports pundit Naomi Schiff agrees.

“I think if you would have asked me this couple of months ago, I would have said absolutely yes,” she said when asked if Norris should chase the Red Bull seat.

“But now that McLaren have turned it around completely, and they’re giving them a car that has a chance to fight, would you rather be in a car that has the chance to win or would you rather be potentially being second best to Max Verstappen?

“For a young driver who still wants so much for his own career, I don’t think that’s quite the move he should make just yet.”

And being a wingman to Verstappen, a role his current team-mate Sergio Perez firmly entrenched in, is not what Norris wants reckons former F1 driver Karun Chandhok.

“I’m saying I don’t think it’ll happen. I don’t think he’ll go,” he said.

“I think he’d stay at McLaren for the next two years of this contract and then see. Either then McLaren are on the up or what happens with Lewis, what happens with Fernando. There’s gonna be a market shake-up when those two superstars decide to one day move.” recommends

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‘Norris has a better chance to be World Champion somewhere else’

Declaring that it comes down to ambition, and Norris one day wanting to win a World title, both Schiff and Chandhok believe he’d have a “better chance” of achieving that goal at anywhere but Verstappen’s Red Bull team.

“Absolutely,” Schiff added. “Look, Checo was on a lifeline when he came into Red Bull and was not at all part of the family. So there is obviously an opportunity for them to pick a driver that’s outside of the family and I think Lando would be a really good choice for them.

“But the question is, as much as those two are best buddies, what would it be because they’re both alpha drivers. Christian quite clearly said it’s about striking that balance with your drivers.”

“I don’t think it’ll happen for that same reason,” said Chandhok. “Checo was at a different stage right, he was basically out of F1, and that was his lifeline as we said.

“But in Lando’s case, he’s ambitious, he wants to be World Champion. But can you be World Champion in a Red Bull team which Max has made his own and go up against Max? That’s a tall order.

“Is there a better chance to be World Champion somewhere else where he can be the team leader? Probably.”

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