Special Max Verstappen treatment theory pulled apart by Lando Norris

Thomas Maher
McLaren's Lando Norris chats with Red Bull's Max Verstappen at the Japanese Grand Prix.

McLaren's Lando Norris chats with Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Lando Norris has backed Max Verstappen’s assertion that Red Bull’s RB19 isn’t designed around him.

With Max Verstappen’s dominance continuing through the summer as the Dutch driver won 10 Grands Prix in a row, comments from Mercedes’ Toto Wolff asserted that the reason Verstappen was doing so well in comparison to Sergio Perez has been due to Red Bull’s RB19 being designed around him.

Christian Horner denied this, as did Max Verstappen as the reigning World Champion labelled the comments “bulls**t”, and even Sergio Perez poured cold water on the idea that the car had been designed with just one driver’s preferences in mind.

Lando Norris: That’s not how an F1 team operates

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Dutch publication RacingNews365.com, Norris said that the suggestion of a car being designed around a single driver is just not really the done thing.

“It’s not down to the team to just make a car design for a person,” Norris explained.

“Maybe that’s a perfect world. It’s our job to deliver no matter what the car is. Max said something very similar after Toto made the comment about the Red Bull. I don’t think you can just design a car for someone.

“It just doesn’t work like that. It’s very much down to the driver to drive the car they’re given. I think this way, if I end up being slower than my team-mates because of whatever reason, then I’m not doing a good enough job. It’s as simple as that. It’s the driver’s job. That’s why we’re here.”

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Lando Norris: An F1 team’s priority is just to make a quick car

Rather than worrying about the preferences of one of their drivers, Norris said that the focus of an F1 team is simply on creating a car that the data shows will be the quickest – it’s up to the drivers then to exploit as much of that potential as is possible.

“I think what people fail to understand sometimes from the outside is that a driver’s job is to drive whatever car they are given as quickly as possible,” the McLaren driver said.

“Yes, you want the car to be nice to you and suit you. But drivers get paid enough money to make the best of every circumstance. Whether it’s a car they like, they don’t like is tricky, is safe, whatever it is. It’s our job to go and just drive what the team gives us.

“You can have a quick car and one that is great to drive but, at the end of the day, I will always pick driving a difficult car that’s quicker than a nice car that’s slow. And I think we know that our priority is just to make a quick car. If it’s difficult it’s difficult, then we can work on making it a better car to drive.

“But at the end of the day, I care what car I drive because I would love a nice car to drive. But I would pick every day a quicker car over an easy car. Because I think that’s our job.”

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