Lando Norris reacts to being McLaren’s ‘old guy’ after Oscar Piastri arrival

Jamie Woodhouse
Lando Norris in the paddock. Sao Paulo November 2022.

McLaren driver Lando Norris arrives in the paddock on Friday. Interlagos November 2022.

Lando Norris is not feeling extra weight of responsibility despite now being the experienced driver of the McLaren line-up.

For the past two seasons Norris has found himself racing alongside a Formula 1 veteran in Daniel Ricciardo, who made his debut in the series back in 2011.

But with Ricciardo losing his seat to rookie Oscar Piastri, that suddenly means that 23-year-old Norris, with his four seasons of experience, is the wise head at McLaren.

However, although Norris will have the experience of past McLaren challengers, he feels all comments are welcomed at a time where McLaren are chasing performance to escape the midfield battle, so is not necessarily feeling the pressure of experience.

Asked by Sky F1 before the end-of-season Abu Dhabi test whether he feels pressure from the extra responsibility, Norris replied: “I think there’s always a lot of responsibility, no matter what period of time you’re in.

“I guess being a slightly more experienced driver then there is that little extra bit where you can refer back to previous years or previous cars and know what the weaknesses and strengths of your cars are and things like that.

“Using reference points is always a good thing for a team because they know ‘we should avoid this because that was bad last time’ and so on.

“I always treated it as there’s a lot of responsibility, but I think in a time where we’re still trying to develop massively, all comments are good, and from I guess very different drivers as well.

“I don’t know Oscar that well, we’ve spoken every now and then a couple of times and I welcomed him into the team and so on, I don’t even know what his driving style is.

“But having two different drivers and the more different driving styles you can add to it, everyone’s going to have a comment which is good and can really have a good impact and the team can focus on [it] and things like that. So I wouldn’t say it makes me any more nervous or anything.”

That being said, this is the first time that Norris will be the “old guy” in his team, something which he does not exactly like the sound of.

Asked if he looks forward to that tag, Norris said: “Probably not. I think it’s going to be the first time I’ll be the oldest in my team.

“I’ve always been racing people older than me, so this will be the first time I’m the old guy.”

Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris can both guide McLaren’s development

Both Norris and Ricciardo have spoken of McLaren’s 2022 challenger, the MCL36, not suiting their driving style very well, Norris adding that front-end grip was also an issue, though he adapted far better than Ricciardo was able to.

Piastri meanwhile has been behind the wheel of the MCL36 and 2021’s MCL35M, finding nothing “completely alien” and according to McLaren, reached a stage where he “understands very clearly” what those cars needed.

To Norris’ point then, both drivers are likely to offer valuable feedback to the team, and perhaps Piastri’s fresh perspective could help to unlock that breakthrough as McLaren look to respond after slipping to P5 in the 2022 Constructors’ Championship, having scored just the one podium courtesy of Norris.

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