Lando Norris opens door wide open to dream Max Verstappen partnership

Oliver Harden
Lando Norris and Max Verstappen, neither happy. Hungary July 2023

McLaren driver Lando Norris and Red Bull's Max Verstappen, neither happy.

Lando Norris has revealed he would relish the chance to become Max Verstappen’s F1 team-mate in the future as doubts over Sergio Perez’s Red Bull future persist. 

Norris’s McLaren team have emerged as Red Bull’s greatest threat in recent weeks, with the British driver finishing second to Verstappen in consecutive races in Britain and Hungary.

Oscar Piastri, Norris’s team-mate, almost pipped Verstappen to pole position for the Belgian GP sprint race in the final race before F1’s summer break before Norris joined the reigning World Champion on the front row of the grid in the first race back at Zandvoort last weekend.

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Lando Norris keen to test himself against Max Verstappen

With speculation over the future of Sergio Perez intensifying in light of an alarming mid-season slump, Norris has been heavily linked with a switch to Red Bull as Verstappen’s team-mate in the near future with the pair known to have a good relationship.

Ahead of this weekend’s Italian GP, Norris said he would be willing to test himself against a driver of Verstappen’s calibre in identical machinery.

He told media including PlanetF1.com’s Thomas Maher at Monza: “It’s definitely something I would be open to in the future. I think I can happily say that Max is probably one of the best drivers ever in the history of Formula 1.

“I never raced against him until I was into Formula 1 but I was always in the category below. In karting, I already knew him reasonably well.

“Back in 2013/2013 was the first time I got to meet him and get to know him and things like that, so I’ve been able to witness what he’s doing and I think it’s not just that he’s in a good car and he’s able to perform.

“I think, no matter what car he’s in, he’ll be able to perform at a similar level. Maybe with different results, but still a similar level.

“I think it’d be great to work alongside someone like that and, at the same time, see where I can really stand against him.

“I’d be open for it. I mean, I invited him to McLaren the other day so if he wants to come anytime he’s very welcome.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

F1 driver contracts: What is the current contract status of every driver on the 2023 grid?

Train like an F1 driver: An eye-opening experience into the insane fitness levels

Norris’s comments come after Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko and team principal Christian Horner seemed at odds when questioned about Perez’s job security at Zandvoort.

While Horner insisted Perez will remain as a Red Bull driver next season, Marko indicated the team’s 2024 lineup is yet to be finalised with the reigning Constructors’ Champions yet to “discuss how to proceed.”

Read next: Sergio Perez urged to leave Red Bull and ‘show his performance’ elsewhere