Red Bull are keeping an eye on Lando Norris, but Christian Horner says that’s in the same way they pay attention to every one of today’s talented drivers.
With Sergio Perez failing to fire this season and Norris emerging as one of the stars, the McLaren driver has been linked by Formula 1’s rumour mill to a move to Red Bull.
It’s even been suggested, by Nico Rosberg that is, that the move could happen next season.
Could Lando Norris be a candidate for a Red Bull seat?
Red Bull have quashed that with the team insisting Perez will hold onto his race seat for another season while Helmut Marko spoke of Norris’ “unfortunately long” contract with McLaren that runs through to the end of the 2025 season.
But he added to Servus TV: “He is definitely a candidate for us. In terms of youth and speed, he would suit us very well.”
Red Bull, though, have since put a star of their own on the track with Liam Lawson impressing the team as he filled in for Daniel Ricciardo, and recorded AlphaTauri’s best result of the season with a P9 in Singapore.
Despite his performances, he’s at the back of the Red Bull queue with AlphaTauri confirming Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda as their 2024 drivers with Lawson the official reserve.
With a solid line-up waiting in the wings for a Red Bull seat, Horner admits while Red Bull are keeping an eye on Norris, they’d rather promote from within when the time comes.
“Lando is a great driver. I mean, he’s a big talent, big personality, and of course, he’s one of those drivers that you keep an eye on,” he told Sky F1.
“But there’s many drivers that you keep an eye on as well. There’s a generation of drivers out there at the moment that have got a huge amount of talent.
“Now being Max’s team-mate is never going to be easy, and some drivers may be up for that challenge, some may not be.
“As well as the drivers we have in-house, we keep an eye on on all of the driver market. And as you can imagine, there’s quite a bit of interest from certain sectors of driving a Red Bull car.
“Max is operating at such a level of his confidence, his commitment, his talent, it’s difficult to envisage somebody beating him in the same equipment. So, of course, what we want is the best two drivers that we can possibly field.
“Ideally that will come from within the talent pool that we have. And if we don’t believe there is that capability, we’ll look outside of that.”
British driver is not part of Red Bull’s requirement
That Norris is British also won’t push him to the front of the queue.
Although earlier this season former F1 driver turned pundit Karun Chandhok suggested that part of Red Bull’s popularity problems in the UK is because they “don’t have a British driver”, Horner says nationality is not part of Red Bull’s criteria.
“We didn’t think about it that much,” he admitted. “I mean, we don’t have a British driver.
“We’re an Austrian-owned Formula 1 team but we’re very much a British-based team. I mean, 95% of our workforce is UK-based or UK residents.
“I think that has been a tremendously successful story for the UK, Formula 1 in general, and here in Milton Keynes. We’re probably one of the biggest assets. It was just phenomenal.”