Norris’ long McLaren deal ‘unfortunate’ – Marko

Dr Helmut Marko admits it’s ‘unfortunate’ that Lando Norris’ McLaren contract has ruled him out of contention for a Red Bull seat for now.

Marko, fellow Red Bull chief Christian Horner and Norris’ paddock friend Max Verstappen have mentioned 23-year-old Briton Norris’ name in connection with a race seat multiple times recently.

The speculation coincided with Sergio Perez’s recent performance slump in the context of teammate Verstappen’s utter dominance in the sister 2023 Red Bull.

“Perez is not consistent. He is not always focused,” Marko, 80, has now told Servus TV.

“But he has a contract until 2024 and Lando Norris has a contract until 2025. Unfortunate that it’s for so long,” he added. “Because he would be one of the candidates.

“We had already reached an agreement with Norris for Toro Rosso at the time, until his manager realised that there was an option in the contract with McLaren. But in terms of youth and speed, he would suit is very well.

“Sergio, on the other hand, is already over 30 and is having his fourth child. He already has other interests, so we will have to see what happens afterwards.”

If Marko’s comments sound like yet another major drop in support for Perez, he did acknowledge that the Mexican has a tough job to have Verstappen as teammate.

“On the one hand,” said Marko, “the Red Bull seat is one of the most sought-after. But on the other hand you also have Max Verstappen as an opponent.

“You need a very strong personality and also incredible mental strength for that. Perez is the one who has managed it the best of all the drivers in recent years, and has also achieved victories.”

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