Lando Norris ‘not fussed’ by who his 2023 team-mate will be

Thomas Maher
McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris converse. Spa-Francorchamps, August 2022.

McLaren’s Lando Norris isn’t particularly bothered by the identity of his 2023 team-mate following Daniel Ricciardo’s departure.

Lando Norris will have a new team-mate in 2023, following the confirmation of Daniel Ricciardo’s departure from the Woking-based squad at the conclusion of the ’22 season.

The British driver raced alongside Carlos Sainz during his rookie season in 2019 and on into 2020, before Ricciardo’s arrival at the start of ’21. However, Ricciardo’s failure to adjust to the McLaren has seen the team and the Australian make the “mutual decision” to part ways.

Norris will thus move on to his third F1 team-mate next year, with the most likely candidate being the arrival of another Australian as Oscar Piastri is suggested to be moving across from the Alpine Academy.

But, whether Norris is placed alongside the 2021 Formula 2 Champion next season, or whether McLaren have to look elsewhere, Norris says he isn’t concerned by whomever the team choose.

“I’m really not fussed,” he told Sky F1 on Thursday in Belgium.

“As long as it’s someone I can enjoy spending time with, and I can work together with well, then I’m happy.

“I don’t know who [it is] yet, so I just look forward to it. Of course, there’ll be a new challenge, many differences.”

Lando Norris driving the McLaren MCL36 in practice. France July 2022

Given his young age, at just 22 years old, Norris said it’ll “feel strange” if he’s the older driver in the team.

“If it is someone younger than I’ll probably feel weird,” he said.

“I feel like I’m the older guy and more mature guy in the team, which I never feel like, but I don’t know yet. I’m focussed on this season for now.”

Lando Norris reflects on years alongside Daniel Ricciardo

Having spent the past two seasons alongside the veteran Daniel Ricciardo, and convincingly beating his illustrious team-mate, Norris was asked about why the partnership had been skewed so much in his favour as the Australian struggled to adjust to the McLaren.

“There are obviously many things that I can’t talk about,” he said.

“Like not ‘I can’t talk about it’, but it’s just better to ask Daniel than to ask me.

“He’s a much better guy at explaining what’s going on, and what’s going well and what hasn’t.

“I’ve still managed to learn a lot from him over the past few years. He’s still a guy who’s extremely talented. I have a huge amount of respect for him. I’ve also enjoyed working with someone like that, someone who’s won races and scored a lot more podiums than I have at my current point.

“It’s been good, but we still have a long second half of the season to go. We’ll continue working as we have done, to end as strongly as we can.”

As for whether there was more he could have done as a driver to help Ricciardo adjust, Norris said he had done everything that was usual in a team-mate relationship in order to mutually move the team forward.

“There are some things – you always talk, we always talk on what our feelings are and what he feels and what I feel and so on,” he said.

“But turning a feeling into actually doing something on track isn’t as simple as just going out and doing it.

“It’s not my job, at the end of the day. I focus on myself, I do what I can, and I do the best job I can for the team. The rest of it, you’ve just got to ask Daniel.”