Max Verstappen on why Lando Norris should remain at McLaren after Red Bull links

Thomas Maher
Lando Norris, Max Verstappen, on the podium in Austin in 2023.

Max Verstappen has weighed in on Lando Norris' possible logic for staying with McLaren for the immediate future.

Max Verstappen has responded to Lando Norris’ shying away from joining Red Bull while the Dutch driver is embedded within the team.

Norris recently signed a contract extension with McLaren, putting to bed any chance of the British driver joining Red Bull any time soon after he and Red Bull openly flirted with each other as both parties indicated interest in, one day, working together.

Given that Sergio Perez’s contract with Red Bull comes to an end at the conclusion of 2025, potentially opening up a seat alongside Max Verstappen, Norris had been linked with a possible switch – only for that possibility to be firmly closed off.

Lando Norris’ logic against racing Max Verstappen at Red Bull

Speaking to Sky Sports after signing his new contract with McLaren, Norris was asked whether he had any fears of joining Red Bull and competing directly against Verstappen in equal machinery – given he had said he’d be open to the idea of working alongside the Dutch driver.

But Norris said the situation was more complicated than simply saying he was running away from the threat of racing against Verstappen on equal terms – the problem being that Norris would be entering Verstappen’s territory.

“I think it’s a longer discussion than just saying that,” he said in January.

“Is Max one of the best drivers ever in Formula 1? Absolutely. I think he’s proved that enough.

“He’s in a team which he’s very comfortable in, a lot of things are built around him, so for anyone – even the Max of a few years ago – to go in against the Max of now is extremely difficult.

“So I don’t think it’s a question of: are you scared or not scared? I don’t think I’d ever be scared of going up against anyone.

“But even if you enter a team, are you in a position to challenge someone straight away? And are you comfortable to do that?

“And I think it’s a ‘no’ – for any driver. It takes time to adapt and takes time to get into place.

“And if you want to go against the best driver in the world, it’s not the best thing to do. It’s not a smart move to do.

“But I would love to race against Max. I’ve enjoyed some of our battles that we’ve had and I’m looking even more forward to the battles that we’re going to have this year.”

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Max Verstappen weighs in on Lando Norris’ McLaren preference

Speaking at the launch of Red Bull’s RB20 in Milton Keynes on Thursday, Verstappen was asked by Sky about Norris’ comments – particularly the part about whether he’d struggle to beat the version of himself from four years ago.

“If I look back at myself four years ago, compared to now, you are a bit more calm and experienced,” Verstappen said.

“And that in some scenarios can make a difference, probably winning a championship helps as well, but it would be quite exciting to have my four year younger self to team up against my current one. I am not afraid of a challenge, it’s cool to race the best in the world.”

Verstappen said he could see the reasoning behind Norris’ preference not to go up against him, but put it more at the feet of Norris being comfortable within the McLaren environment rather than the British driver being afraid of going up against him.

“But from his [Lando’s] side, I don’t know what’s going on in the team there,” he said.

“And when you feel really happy and confident with the people you are with, and they’ve [McLaren] been on a positive trajectory, you also think to yourself: ‘Maybe I don’t need to leave and I can make this a success.'”

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