While rival teams like Red Bull are keeping a watchful eye, McLaren boss Andrea Stella confirmed that talks are underway with Lando Norris to secure his future.
Questions were asked of Norris when he committed to McLaren in a long-term deal running until the end of F1 2025, at which point McLaren had not delivered on their ambitions to challenge at the very front of the grid once more.
In recent months though, that situation has been turned completely on its head.
McLaren open talks with Lando Norris
Having started the season battling just to score points, McLaren have delivered a sensational development programme for their MCL60 which has fired them into podium contention.
The team secured their first double podium of the season last time out in Japan, Norris crossing the line P2 for the fourth time this season, while Oscar Piastri followed in P3 to score his first Formula 1 podium.
Norris has been spoken about as a potential Red Bull target for some time, and as he now proves that he can compete right at the sharp end of the grid, speculation has resurfaced, with both Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko and team principal Christian Horner saying the Austrian squad are keeping an eye on Norris.
However, Stella has confirmed that talks have begun with Norris to take him off the table as an option for the likes of Red Bull.
“We are certainly having conversations with Lando,” Stella affirmed, as per Speedcafe.com.
“They are good conversations, we are happy with how these conversations are going.”
With McLaren having shown Piastri enough to convince him to ditch Alpine, and then recently sign a McLaren contract extension until the end of F1 2026, Stella said the process is the same with Norris.
He made it clear that the team do not want to keep him with promises, but instead proof, as they are doing now, that his McLaren future will be bright as team and driver chase wins and titles down the line.
“With Lando, we are doing exactly the same, trying to prove as much as possible on track that what we say [is realised], and trying to create a sense of this is going to continue over the coming years,” Stella stated.
“I will be at discomfort, myself, having a conversation with a driver where I’m trying to persuade him playing cards that I don’t have in my hands.
“I don’t want to find myself in a situation where a driver said, ‘Hey, you said this would have happened, it’s not happening’. I don’t want to be in this position.
“So my conversations, Zak [Brown, McLaren CEO’s] conversations, they are genuine assessments of facts to the best of our knowledge.
“We don’t need to buy people in, we want people to give us the vote of confidence and stay with us, genuinely, truly believing in the journey together with McLaren.”
While Mercedes and P2 in the Constructors’ Championship is looking too much of a stretch for McLaren this season, a P4 finish is certainly on the cards, with the gap to Aston Martin, somewhat slipping away from that ‘best of the rest’ battle, now down to 49 points.