Revealed: Lando Norris considered shock McLaren exit as Red Bull ‘steal’ teased

Oliver Harden
Lando Norris looks bored in a press conference with prominent badges of McLaren and Red Bull alongside him

Lando Norris resisted the advances of Red Bull to commit his future to McLaren.

Lando Norris considered leaving McLaren during the team’s early struggles in the F1 2023 season, the new series of Netflix’s Drive to Survive has revealed.

Norris enjoyed the strongest season of his career to date last season, equalling his best-ever result of second place on six occasions as McLaren emerged as the most consistent threat to the dominant Red Bull team.

Those results came after a desperate start to the season for McLaren, who admitted to missing their development targets over the winter of 2022/23, with Norris registering just three points finishes in the opening eight races.

Lando Norris questioned McLaren future after poor start to F1 2023

Norris has since committed his future to McLaren, who announced last month that the British driver has signed a new multi-year contract extension.

However, footage released in the new series of Drive to Survive – Netflix’s highly acclaimed F1 docuseries – has revealed just how badly Norris took McLaren’s poor start to the season, fluttering his eyelashes at Red Bull.

“I might just walk into Red Bull and steal their car,” Norris comments after finishing two laps down in last place after the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, the first of 14 straight victories for Red Bull’s RB19 car.

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Zak Brown, the McLaren chairman, is then seen attempting to console his driver during a round of golf, telling him: “I think we’ll get there, and then it will be so much more sweet.”

Brown’s words appear to be in vain, however, as Norris comments while driving a golf buggy: “F***, it’s quicker than our car, this!”

A later scene shows Norris facing the media in Miami, where he is asked if he would bet on himself staying at McLaren for 2024. After struggling to come up with an answer, Norris turns to pull a face at a Drive to Survive camera situated several tables away.

“A lot of the times in this sport people will put certain rumours out to try and put fractures into relationships, to destabilise teams and drivers,” Brown says before Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal, makes his position clear on Norris.

He says: “I think Lando is one of the most talented drivers on the grid. In the right car he’d clearly be a winning driver, that’s absolutely no doubt about that.

“Can his career take another year of being in the doldrums? A driver’s career has a finite amount of time to it, and he needs to make the right decisions for him at the end of the day.

“We’d certainly be interested in him. I think he’d fit in our environment.

“If he’s delivering he’s not going to be short of choices – he just needs to make the right choice.”

With Norris’s future becoming a hot topic in the media, a McLaren press officer instructs Norris, Brown and Oscar Piastri on how to approach the difficult questions.

“The only other thing to flag is on Lando’s contract,” the trio are told. “Zak was asked specifically if there were any exit clauses, to which we said no.

“Anything that you can say that as a team we’re cementing, we’re knuckling down, we’re not listening to any noise that’s going on in the media.”

Norris, who is caught muttering and swearing under his breath after a poor weekend for McLaren in Miami, later admits that he has considered a move away.

He says: “I guess at times I would love to know what it’s like to be in other people’s positions.

“I think like: ‘Hmm, what would happen if I went here or what would happen if I went there?’

“Who wouldn’t think of those things?”

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