‘Should Lando Norris call Ferrari over Carlos Sainz’s seat?’

Henry Valantine
Lando Norris, McLaren, in Baku paddock. Azerbaijan, April 2023.

Lando Norris, McLaren, pictured in the Baku paddock. Azerbaijan, April 2023.

Lando Norris and McLaren have endured a difficult start to the season, and F1 pundits have asked when the highly-rated Briton may begin to get “twitchy” about his place with the team.

Norris and rookie team-mate Oscar Piastri finished down in 17th and 19th place respectively in Miami over the weekend, in a setback following a double points finish in Australia that had provided hopes that the team were perhaps gaining momentum after a slow start to 2023.

But with Norris being one of the most highly-regarded talents in Formula 1, he is unlikely to be short of suitors as and when contracts are due to be renewed – with both Ferrari drivers out of contract at the end of 2024, as well as Red Bull’s Sergio Perez as it stands.

Norris, though, is currently tied into a long-term deal with McLaren which team CEO Zak Brown insists has no get-outs on either side, believed to run until at least the end of the 2025 season.

Speaking on the Sky Sports F1 podcast, former drivers Martin Brundle and Karun Chandhok were discussing the problems McLaren have faced so far this season, with Chandhok believing that it is difficult for Piastri to make his mark in his rookie season in a car as uncompetitive as the MCL60 so far.

“I think it’s a lot tougher for Lando,” Brundle said in response to Chandhok’s point on the Piastri’s struggle to show his talent.

“I mean, he could have won those three races on the bounce a while back, and he’s seeing George [Russell] and Carlos and contemporaries winning Grands Prix and challenging for podiums.

“So all Oscar’s got to do is stay close to or beat Lando. Lando needs to try to beat everybody else on the grid, so it’s a really challenging time for him.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

‘Massive’ Mercedes and Ferrari upgrades on the way, claim Red Bull

Miami Grand Prix team ratings: A perfect 10 and poor pit calls from McLaren and Alfa

But looking ahead to the future, Chandhok replied to Brundle and asked if he should speak to Maranello and enquire whether or not replacing his friend and former McLaren team-mate, Carlos Sainz, may be a viable option.

“Martin, do you think he should be on the phone to Ferrari, for example?” Chandhok asked. “You know, Carlos isn’t having a great run. At what point do you start to get twitchy if you were Lando, do you think?”

“You want to be reassured,” Brundle replied, before explaining that not seeing improvements at McLaren will have Norris “scouting around hard” for what is next.

“I mean, get the crystal ball out. I had a lovely interview with Fernando [Alonso] at the weekend and, I don’t think it made the cut that particular piece, but you know, we all try to see the crystal ball and who’s going to have the downforce and power and grip and get their teams together.

“But yeah, Lando will be looking around. He’s got to be looking around, but he’s nailed on with the contracts and the [FIA] Contract Recognition Board.

“So he’s got a while there and he’s got time as a young man, but McLaren will have to deliver up for him in the next 18 months or he’ll be scouting around hard.”