Accepting McLaren “can’t control external approaches” for Lando Norris, Zak Brown wants to ensure McLaren remain the “best environment” for the star driver.
One of the stars of the 2023 championship as he claimed seven podiums on his way to sixth place in the Drivers’ standings, Norris found himself linked to a move to championship winners Red Bull.
Billed as the perfect candidate to partner Max Verstappen by Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko, the 80-year-old hinted the only thing holding Red Bull back was Norris’ McLaren contract.
Rival teams reportedly keen on signing Lando Norris
That runs through to the end of the 2025 season after Norris signed a new multi-year deal back in 2022.
But with Red Bull still said to be interested in the Briton, Mercedes too with Norris’ contract ending at the same time as Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes deal, Brown concedes it’s up to McLaren to ensure Norris wants to stay.
“I have a belief, whether it’s employees, drivers, sponsors, that it’s our job to take care of them, and for them to want to be at McLaren,” he said as per Speedcafe.
“So I tend to focus on making sure McLaren has the best environment and people that want to be with us because you ultimately can’t control external approaches to those various people.
“I’m very confident in the relationship that we have with Lando. I know he’s very excited for this year and was very impressed with what he saw over the second half of last year.
“He loves working with Andrea [Stella] and everyone on the team, so all we need to keep doing is giving him the environment he wants to be in, and I’m confident he’ll stick around as opposed to trying to kind of sell against the competition. That’s never been my way.”
McLaren ‘in dialogue’ with Lando Norris
Having already signed Norris’ team-mate Oscar Piastri to a new multi-year deal last season, Brown revealed the team is already talking with Norris about the future.
“I feel my primary role is to get the right people in place, give them the right resources in support of Andrea and the entire team,” he continued.
“Of course, when you’re building a team that has desires to get back to winning a World Championship, you need the management, the technology, the infrastructure, and of course, you need the two drivers, and I think we have all of those in place.
“We have Lando under contract for another couple of years.
“Of course, we’re in dialogue with him continuously as he’s starting to think through – as we are as we’re very focused – to obviously the short term, but also ’26 is not far away.
“We recognise that being able to retain Lando and Oscar for the foreseeable future is definitely a key element and something that is a high priority for us.”
Although Norris is one of the hot topics in Formula 1’s driver market, the 24-year-old has yet to win a Grand Prix and last season equalled Nick Heidfeld’s tally of the most podiums in F1 without a victory, with 13.