Martin Brundle warns McLaren they could lose star driver Lando Norris

Sam Cooper
Lando Norris at a press conference. Bahrain February 2023.

McLaren driver Lando Norris at a press conference during pre-season testing. Bahrain February 2023.

Martin Brundle has warned McLaren they could lose star driver Lando Norris if they do not start answering questions soon.

Norris is in his fifth season of Formula 1 but looks further than ever from securing his maiden win, let alone a Championship battle.

In the opening race in Bahrain, Norris finished P17 having been forced to pit many times due to a pneumatics problem while his new team-mate Oscar Piastri retired early, also due to unreliability.

Norris’ McLaren contract runs until the end of 2025 but as he starts to watch his contemporaries win races and World titles, more speculation has been raised as to whether he may be forced to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

Brundle spent a season racing for McLaren in 1994 and it was a year blighted with unreliability as the King’s Lynn man failed to finish on seven occasions.

The driver-turned-pundit said it was one thing to accept poor performance but another to swallow unreliability.

“To have a slow car in Formula 1 is one thing, especially for McLaren,” he told the Sky Sports F1 podcast. “To have an unreliable and slow McLaren is a terrible thing.

“They need to get that sorted out in a hurry. Unreliability just shouldn’t happen these days so let’s hope they have a better weekend in Saudi Arabia.

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“I want all 10 teams up there challenging for the lead, that’s my dream, so I don’t like to see McLaren struggling.”

As to whether Norris needed to seek a move away to fulfil his potential, Brundle said that if McLaren were unable to answer certain questions then Norris would “have” to walk away.

“He’s got time on his side but the years start slipping past. He will be asking the same questions as George [Russell, as Lewis [Hamilton], as Charles [Leclerc] like ‘what are we doing about this?’

“‘Tell me how you’re going to close the gap to Red Bull and who’s going to do that and why? Where are the resources coming from and how does the cost cap affect this?’

“It’s a reasonable question from a driver and I think if he doesn’t get the right answers at a suitable point, if he can jump into what looks like a race or championship winning car then he’ll have to take it.”

Brundle is not the only former driver to question Norris’ extended McLaren contract with another former McLaren man Jenson Button admitting last month he was “surprised” to see Norris sign a long-term deal.