Lando Norris has returned to McLaren’s headquarters in Woking as the start of the 2021 season edges ever closer.
While Norris has been taking a well-earned break, one in which he tested positive for COVID-19, his team have been working perhaps harder than any other ahead of the new campaign to fit their new Mercedes units into the car.
The British driver has now returned to work at the factory to kick off his third season on the grid and with the team, the first in which he will have been there longer than his team-mate, with Daniel Ricciardo coming in to replace Carlos Sainz.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) February 2, 2021
Given that, Norris has stated that he’s hoping to permanently take on more of a leading role after occasionally doing so in 2020.
“There were times throughout last year – more towards the middle and latter part – when I kind of took on that role,” he said via GPFans.
“There were a lot more debriefs and things that were led by myself, rather than Carlos, taking the car more in the direction I wanted it to be improved and thinking ahead to the future.
“Obviously, there were a lot of meetings that didn’t include Carlos. When it came to ’21 stuff and ’22, we couldn’t involve him because he was moving to another team.
“So I think that will happen a little more this year, leading the debriefs a little bit more and bringing the ideas and my experience of working with McLaren to the table.”
— WTF1 (@wtf1official) February 2, 2021
While Norris was hard at work, his former team-mate Sainz was having some fun with his new partner in crime, Charles Leclerc.
Having both driven in Ferrari’s pre-season testing in Fiorano, the pair stuck around in Italy to swap the 2018 challenger for some road cars and thrash them around Imola.
Footage from the day saw the two of them joking around and getting on well. If that can last once they’re head to head on track, we may have a new bromance on our hands…