Lando Norris warned against becoming Max Verstappen’s future team-mate

Henry Valantine
Max Verstappen and Lando Norris on the grid. Hungary July 2022.

Max Verstappen speaks to Lando Norris on the grid before the race. Hungary July 2022.

Dutch racer Tom Coronel believes Lando Norris has done the right thing by not moving to partner Max Verstappen at Red Bull.

Norris signed a new long-term deal with McLaren earlier in the year after brief speculation linking him with a drive at Red Bull, with team principal Christian Horner later quipping that any time they speak to him, he signs a new McLaren contract the following day.

With Verstappen holding an iron grip over the number one status within Red Bull as the reigning double World Champion, Coronel doubts whether Norris moving across to the team one day would be a good idea.

“Whether he should sit next to Max?”, Coronel questioned in conversation with FORMULE 1 Magazine in the Netherlands.

“No. Then he will get the same as all the others. Apart from Max, your career just stops.

“It was wise of Norris not to have gone to Red Bull, it’s better to wait for another opportunity then. He is actually doing that now.”

But given that McLaren have remained in the midfield in recent years, Coronel feels that his current employers are “actually the wrong team too” and, if a front-running move to Red Bull does not materialise in future, “he has to find an opportunity somewhere else.”

Would Lando Norris risk moving to challenge Max Verstappen?

If Norris has shown anything over the past two seasons at McLaren alongside a proven race winner in Daniel Ricciardo, it’s that he is more than capable of being a team leader in his own right.

With six podiums to his name in McLaren cars which have largely been midfield runners throughout his career to date, he was comfortably ‘best of the rest’ behind the Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes drivers in the 2022 standings, and it is looking pretty inarguable that he has proven capable of leading a top team.

But going to Red Bull, which for some time now has very much been ‘Team Max’ – his enormous contract extension until 2028 was proof of that – would that see the odds stacked against Norris within the team before he even arrives, no matter how fast he proves to be against him in the same car?

Given his own future is secure at McLaren for years to come, Norris has time and an ever-improving reputation on his side to get the lay of the land, though McLaren are still backing themselves to give him the car he needs to begin fighting for wins in the near future.

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