McLaren team principal Andrea Stella has said it is only “natural” for a driver of Lando Norris’ quality to be linked with a team like Red Bull.
Norris has a contract with McLaren until the end of the 2025 season and has consistently stated he is very happy at the Woking-based outfit, but that has not stopped the chatter about him becoming Max Verstappen’s team-mate in the years to come.
The recent talk has been sparked by key members of the Red Bull camp, with motorsport advisor Helmut Marko saying he “could imagine” Norris at the team and Verstappen admitting that the two drivers have spoken about becoming team-mates in future.
No surprise see Lando Norris linked with Red Bull
The seismic gap between Verstappen and current team-mate Sergio Perez is also adding fuel to the fire as Red Bull assess their long-term options, but McLaren are pretty relaxed about the prospect of Norris potentially being poached over the coming seasons.
“It’s natural,” Stella is quoted as having told Corriere della Sera newspaper when he was asked about the Norris to Red Bull rumours.
“If I was in another team I would try to understand how to get him as well. What we want to do is prevent that from happening to us.
“Aside from the contractual aspects, being able to win together is a special goal. I think if we give him and Oscar Piastri a competitive car, we won’t have a hard time keeping either of them.”
In terms of giving Norris and Piastri that competitive car, Stella mapped out a timeline that will hopefully convince both drivers to stay with the team for the foreseeable future.
“In this second part of the season we must confirm our progress,” said Stella. “Always scoring points and putting ourselves in the fight for the podium.
“For next year we would like to be regularly among the top three and in 2025 we are aiming for victories.”
Although Norris is happy driving with the team, he did recently reveal to Sky F1 that he does have an impatient streak within him knowing that he only has a limited amount of time in the sport.
“Of course. I want to win races with McLaren. I want to win in papaya, I want to win championships,” he said.
“I want to achieve my success and I want to achieve my goals with McLaren. That’s been my target since I’ve come here, since I’ve entered Formula 1 with this team.
“I guess I’m a loyal guy from that point of view, that I’ve joined the team, they gave me a chance in Formula 1 and I want to deliver and achieve success for them.
“And I think it’s a cooler story at the same time, to go from where we were a few years ago – a team that was really struggling – to fighting back and being that first team to really come back from a long way and fight for championships and wins. I think it would be just a cool story to look back on in 10, 20 years.”
“In the back of my mind, there’s that impatient game of, ‘do I stick it out for another few years, or is it time to look at something different?'” he said.
“But the more we achieve things as we have done over the past few weeks, the more I’m very confident with the decision I made to stay until 2025, and the more confident I am that we can achieve our goals together in the future.”