Martin Brundle believes Lando Norris has to keep his own best interests in mind when it comes to loyalty to McLaren.
In 2024, Norris enters his sixth season in Formula 1 after making his debut in the sport with McLaren in 2019.
While the British driver has established a monumental reputation over the years, he has yet to enter the echelon of winners as McLaren’s performance level hasn’t quite been enough to manage a Grand Prix win.
Martin Brundle: One more year, and Norris will have to look out for himself
While Oscar Piastri managed a sprint race victory in 2023 as the MCL60 became much more competitive towards season end, Martin Brundle believes it’s make or break time for Norris’ career if he wants to start realising the potential he’s shown as an F1 racer.
Reflecting on 2023 in a column for Sky Sports F1, renowned broadcaster Martin Brundle commented on Norris’ season after another winless campaign.
Norris is on a long-term contract with the Woking-based squad, taking him through until the end of 2025, and Brundle said it’s time for Norris to re-evaluate his future if 2024 passes without making that crucial next step.
“Whether you’re the team boss or whether you’re the drivers, you have to say, ‘I only have eyes for one team one driver pairing’” he wrote, replying to a question on whether Norris could look to walk away from McLaren if they fail to hook up 2024 – perhaps to join Red Bull as both sides have flirted with each other in recent months.
“But it’s a very small business, relatively speaking and your career whizzes past, you’ve got to keep your options open.
“Loyalty pays, especially these days in F1 teams, you can build something together but if he sees another year out without a victory, he’ll have to, and in any event, he should be making sure he’s in the best possible place to win a world championship.”
But, with McLaren coming on in leaps and bounds in 2023 after a troubled first half of the season heading down the wrong path initially with the car’s concept, Brundle believes their understanding of how to unlock performance could be a boon for Norris next season.
“They have got a great driver line up and the team seem to be in the ascendancy,” he said.
“I’m not sure the wind tunnel will really be on stream yet for making a big change but they seem to understand their car, every time they brought an update it really moved it forward, which suggests that all their data is matching up with track performance.
“I just think for the sake of all of us, and for F1 and even for Red Bull, to be honest, we need not just McLaren, but Ferrari, Aston Martin, Mercedes and everybody to close the gap.
So fingers and toes crossed the McLaren and all the other teams can do that. ”