F1 star warned against joining Red Bull to ‘risk’ partnering Max Verstappen

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen holds his cap wearing a very pleased smile.

Max Verstappen holds his cap.

Former F1 driver Johnny Herbert has urged Lando Norris to avoid the “risk” of leaving McLaren to partner Max Verstappen at Red Bull.

F1 is very much in the era of Verstappen, the dominant Dutchman winning a record 19 grands prix out of 22 in F1 2023 on his way to a third World Championship triumph in as many seasons.

Team-mate Sergio Perez did ensure Red Bull’s first one-two in the standings, but it was a landslide Verstappen victory as he ended the season with 575 points, more than double Perez’s tally.

Johnny Herbert urges Lando Norris to snub Red Bull

Perez received more than his fair share of criticism during a difficult F1 2023 campaign, his position in the Red Bull line-up questioned on multiple occasions despite Red Bull insisting his seat was not under threat.

But with Perez’s contract up after F1 2024, Red Bull did not deny that they are assessing their options, nor did they quash the talk that Norris was among the candidates.

Both Norris and Verstappen have commented on the prospect of being Red Bull team-mates, an idea which interests both drivers, though Herbert believes Norris should not take any offer that comes his way.

Norris and McLaren enjoyed a breakthrough season in F1 2023 as they surged up the order, Norris scoring seven of their nine podium finishes.

Herbert believes Norris should remain committed to this project and the pursuit of title glory, rather than take the “risk” of joining Verstappen at Red Bull.

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“I think if we do it just from a driver’s perspective, you’re always going to try and work out what’s going to benefit you,” Herbert told Express Sport in association with Genting Casino.

“Now, is the risk of him going to Red Bull worth it in the situation that he finds himself? “McLaren [are] doing really, really well… McLaren love having him in the team. He delivers when the car is working properly…

“Is it worth the risk? Personally no, I don’t think it is worth the risk.

“He’s still young, he’s still going to get better, he’s still going to improve and at the moment McLaren are on a very good trajectory to get themselves maybe in a stronger position for next year.

“We’re going to have to wait and see obviously, but I don’t see why he’d want to make his life that little bit more difficult when he actually is in a very good position that he’s got at the moment.”

Norris is contracted to McLaren until the end of 2025, with a huge regulatory reset then looming for 2026 as a new generation of cars and power units are introduced.

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