Did Lewis Hamilton play a role in new Lando Norris deal at McLaren?

Henry Valantine
Lando Norris on the Miami pit wall.

Lando Norris has his long-term future secure with McLaren, announcing a new deal in early 2024.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown was asked if the coincidental timing of Lewis Hamilton’s move to Ferrari played a part in how Lando Norris saw his new deal with McLaren announced at a similar time.

Hamilton’s move to Ferrari for 2025 shocked the Formula 1 world in early February, but only a few days beforehand, McLaren had announced a new long-term contract extension for Norris to cement his place at the team for the years to come – fending off any lingering interest from their rivals.

Zak Brown sets the record straight on Lando Norris deal

Given the timing of the announcement, the question was put to Brown about whether or not he had any knowledge of the seven-time World Champion moving to the Scuderia – a switch which has set the driver market moving for 2025.

But Brown revealed that Norris had already penned his new deal months before McLaren announced it, and the team wanted to leave him to enjoy his break over the Christmas period before putting him back in the limelight when the winter break ended.

When asked on the Beyond the Grid podcast if McLaren had received a ‘heads-up’ regarding Hamilton’s Ferrari move and if that played a part in their new Norris deal, Brown clarified: “No, we actually just announced him.

“We’d actually signed him at the end of the year, but we wanted to make the announcement with him back.

“So typically, we let our drivers after the end of the year and the team holiday party disappear, and we didn’t want to kind of do a paper press release.

“So I think a lot of people went ‘oh, just in the nick of time’, the reality was he had been signed for a couple of months.

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“So we knew we wanted Lando and we took our option up on Oscar only a few races in last year, we’d seen enough pretty quickly. It was like ‘well, why wait till whatever date was in the contract?’ It was like ‘no, we wanted to stay.’

“That’s a big part of the objective I have with the team, it’s stability, visibility, longevity with all of our people in the team – and the drivers are the two most famous and pretty well paid, but just another two members of the racing team.”

As for Brown himself, he recently signed a new contract to continue as McLaren CEO until 2030, having been at the helm while the team has progressed from the midfield to where they are now.

He has already made it clear he wants to help the team become title challengers again, with their last World Championship having come through Hamilton’s Drivers’ crown in 2008, and he claims this newest deal is just the next step on his path.

On his latest contract, Brown added: “It was an easy decision – might ask my chairman if it was a difficult decision – but no, for me, I told them I’m working on a plan that’s kind of 10 years out, and I don’t think that’ll be my last contract at McLaren, I think it’s my next contract at McLaren.

“But if it’s up to me, that’ll put me [aged] 59. I’ve already done the math, and I’m definitely not hanging it up at 59.

“So I could see another 10 or 20 years after that – I absolutely love working at McLaren.”

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