McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown says it is time for Lando Norris to lose the rookie feel and challenge new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.
The Briton made his Formula 1 debut in 2019, but although he now has two years of Formula 1 experience under his belt, Norris is still very much seen as one of the rookie drivers on the grid still aged only 21.
“This year will be his third year. Clearly, Daniel has a lot more experience but I think it’s time for Lando to no longer be a rookie,” said Brown.
“It’ll be a less experienced driver than Daniel but I expect them to push each other extremely hard and I think Lando will continue to grow with having someone like Daniel as his team-mate.”
In his two seasons with McLaren Norris has finished on the podium once, that coming courtesy of a P3 finish at the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix, but his overall performances against the more experienced Carlos Sainz earned the youngster plenty of praise.
Finishing only eight points behind Sainz in the 2020 Drivers’ Championship, Norris and his now former team-mate took McLaren to P3 in the Constructors’ Championship, and Brown credited the performances of Norris after challenging him to find more “aggression” in his second season.
“I think Lando has done an excellent job, if we look at what we asked him to do after year one, our review of year one was he had an excellent year, we wanted him to pick up his aggressiveness,” said Brown.
“Maybe at times, he showed such maturity not making rookie mistakes which you expect and I think he demonstrated his speed and we wanted him to just dial up the aggressiveness a bit and, if you look at what he did last year, he and Carlos are even again effectively in qualifying, pretty much even in points so Lando had a better year as far as points versus his team-mate.
“He had some awesome starts, some awesome races, some awesome battles which was an area we wanted to see him step up to and he has done that.”