Despite speculation Lando Norris’ F1 future is linked to that of Lewis Hamilton’s, Zak Brown says his driver knows “the game plan” and he’s on board with McLaren.
This season marks Norris’ fifth year on the Formula 1 grid with McLaren, but to date the Briton is still waiting for his first grand prix win.
Last year he spoke of his frustration at watching his former F2 rival George Russell clinch his first while Norris’ first F1 team-mate, Carlos Sainz, also broke his duck.
It has pundits speculating that unless McLaren get it right and produce a race-winning car, they could lose Norris when the time comes for Hamilton to hang up his helmet.
According to Karun Chandhok, the driver has “got to be the number one pick” for Mercedes to replace Hamilton, while Peter Windsor reckons he’ll be Ferrari’s first choice as they’re likely to lose Charles Leclerc to Mercedes.
Brown isn’t paying any attention to the speculation, adamant Norris and McLaren still have the goal of winning a World title together.
“At the end of the day he does want to win a World Championship and we’re on this journey together,” the American told Sky Sports.
“I know there’s some noise around but he knows what the game plan is.
“For sure we all want to be winning races and competing for the championship in the not-too-distant future.
“So as long as we do that I’m sure we’ll be racing together for a long time.
“I think we want to finish the story we started which has coming into Formula 1 and winning the World Championship with us.
“We’ve got time.”
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McLaren shouldn’t be surprised if the noise volume increases
Yes, McLaren have time, but perhaps not as much as Brown seems to think.
Norris has a contract that runs through to the end of 2025 meaning McLaren have three years with the driver but unless there is a notable improvement this season, he’s going to be beginning looking around at the end of the year to see what’s out there.
Alas for Norris, the noises coming out of McLaren aren’t sounding that positive.
New team principal Andrea Stella said at the launch McLaren were “not entirely happy for what is the launch car” although he is “optimistic that it should take a good step soon”, probably at round four.
That’s not going to make for good reading for Norris, who wants race wins and World titles, although he’d probably settle for a podium or three this season.
If this continues, McLaren shouldn’t be surprised if the “noise” and rumours gather momentum.