Karun Chandhok: Red Bull should be ‘going hard’ to sign Lando Norris

Jamie Woodhouse
Lando Norris speaking with Max Verstappen and a smiling Carlos Sainz. Monaco May 2022

McLaren driver Lando Norris speaking with Max Verstappen and a smiling Carlos Sainz. Monaco May 2022

Ex-Formula 1 driver Karun Chandhok feels Red Bull should be looking to the future by bringing Lando Norris into the team.

The British racer is currently tied into a multi-year contract at McLaren, that deal running until the end of the 2025 season.

However, with Norris intent on fighting at the front of the grid sooner rather than later, 2024 the season when McLaren say they are out of excuses as their infrastructure will be up to date, Norris was left admitting that the 2022 campaign fell short of expectations.

He claimed the team’s only podium of the season, P3 in Imola, as McLaren slipped to P5 in the Constructors’ Championship. Norris was on the podium four times in 2021, and without a late downpour at that year’s Russian Grand Prix, he could well have become a Grand Prix winner for the first time.

Reflecting on the 2022 campaign, Norris told Sky Sports F1: “From where we were in race one [Bahrain], I think we’ve done a good job, we recovered well.

“If I think before the season, did we achieve in 2022 what we should have done as McLaren? Honestly, no. If we want to do well and we want to be champions at some point and we want to win races, we can’t be satisfied with where we have been this season.”

But if Red Bull were to follow Chandhok’s advice by reviving their interest in Norris, then the Brit may well find himself battling at the front in a Red Bull in the coming years.

Red Bull’s reigning two-time World Champion Max Verstappen has made no secret of the fact that once his mighty contract with the team concludes at the end of 2028, he is giving very serious consideration to continuing his career outside of Formula 1.

So, with his team-mate Sergio Perez and Red Bull’s third driver Daniel Ricciardo both north of 30, Chandhok feels Red Bull should cover themselves for the future with the acquisition of Norris.

“I think they should be going hard to try and buy Lando Norris,” Chandhok told Sky Sports F1 on their F1 2022 review show.

“Exactly, absolutely spot on,” said Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft in response to that suggestion.

Lando Norris would be ideal for Red Bull

Verstappen is of course under contract with Red Bull through to 2028, but long before that time it would be a solid piece of business for the team to enlist the services of Norris.

In a car comparable to the standard which Verstappen has been driving over these past couple of seasons, Norris is a driver who it is believed has what it takes to join the fight for wins and titles, and his time with McLaren has done very little to suggest otherwise.

Verstappen and Norris are friends off the track, which would hopefully would mean they could co-exist as team-mates, we will of course drop the asterisk of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in there.

Of course, the other key question relates to whether Norris could be next to fall victim to the ‘team-mate killer’ Verstappen? Pierre Gasly, Alex Albon and now to a slightly lesser extent Sergio Perez, all were left scratching their heads most of the time when it came to getting the same level of performance from the Red Bull machinery that Verstappen can.

It is known that Verstappen has a rather unique driving style, but Norris too has experience of driving very particular cars over at McLaren. The MCL36 for example was the opposite of what Norris said he wants from a car, yet he still got the best out of it, while Verstappen’s former team-mate Ricciardo struggled massively and lost his seat.

With Red Bull releasing Gasly a year ahead of his contract expiration to join Alpine, the team have shown that Formula 1 contracts can be escaped, so Red Bull now could look to show how this works the other way around by bringing Norris into the fold.

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