Lando Norris feels the extra responsibility as the one to ‘get the truth’ out of McLaren

Toby Miles
Lando Norris at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix. Interlagos November 2022.

Lando Norris stands between McLaren colleagues at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix. Interlagos November 2022.

Gearing-up for his fifth F1 season, Lando Norris is prepared to shoulder more responsibility in McLaren’s fight to take fourth place back to Britain.

The 23-year-old put together another impressive season in 2022. Although he only stepped onto the podium once, Norris’ consistent out-performing of the MCL36 inadvertently pushed team-mate Daniel Ricciardo out of F1, such was his dominance over the Australian.

Another Aussie steps into Ricciardo’s seat, with 21-year-old Oscar Piastri stepping up. In his rookie season, the former F2 and F3 champion will be somewhat reliant on Norris’ experience to help smooth-out his transition to the big time.

Having always partnered more experienced team-mates in Formula 1 up to now – making his debut alongside Carlos Sainz in 2019 – the new season represents another test for Norris. Alpine bumped McLaren down to fifth last year, teeing-up an intense 2023 battle.

“I definitely have more responsibility to uphold this season,” Norris said at the MCL60 launch event.

“Simply because I’m the one with more experience, both in Formula 1, but also with McLaren as a team so I can use that a lot more than Oscar would be able to, and use that to our advantage.

“Of course, Oscar is going to be able to bring a different perspective as he’s worked with a different team. That’s something I’ve not done before, so you can bring out a different side.

“But I’m the one that’s going to be able to bring the things that work, and speak about the things that didn’t in previous years.”

Norris has been linked with Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes drives in the future, with most of the paddock rating him as a potential future World Champion.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown is hoping to keep hold of Norris for the long-term, and managed to tie him down to a five-year deal that will end in 2025. However, McLaren need to convince Norris to stay, especially if a ‘Big Three’ seat becomes available.

The Glastonbury-born star is already starting to grow impatient, admitting he does wish he could compete at the front. Time is ticking for Brown and Co.

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However, this year Norris is ready to use his four seasons of experience at McLaren to drive the team forward. He expects to have the upper hand over Piastri, who spent last season as Alpine’s reserve driver.

“I’m the one who probably feels a bit more at home at the minute being so long with the team,” Norris added.

“I can use that to the advantage of pushing people – the aerodynamicists, the designers. I will probably feel happier to go up to them and ask them questions, lean on them, and push them more than maybe Oscar will.

“Maybe I’m wrong but I think that just comes with time, getting to know people, and the experience of being with a team.

“So there’s that side of it, getting the truth out of people, pushing them, getting them to find that limit in whatever area that is within the team.

“I feel like that’s a bit more my job and my role rather than just giving general feedback about the car and going and driving.

“I think I have more responsibility to lead the team and push them on.”