Lando Norris has injected some more intrigue into a swirling late-season round of rumours in Formula 1 – intensifying an air of mystery to his own career trajectory.
Already hailed as one of the most promising young drivers in the sport, Norris’s performances in 2023 have been turning heads amid the high-profile struggles of Red Bull’s usual rivals Mercedes and Ferrari. As things stand, Norris has emerged as Max Verstappen’s closest rival, and he doesn’t even rule out the possibility of challenging for the title in 2024.
“Maybe,” Norris responded when asked about his title ambitions, shortly after finishing behind the dominant Red Bull at Interlagos. He revealed, “I’ve just been saying to Max, since we bought this upgrade to Austria, I’ve been the second-highest scoring driver on the grid.”
Norris, 23, and triple world champion Verstappen share an obvious camaraderie, fueling speculation that Norris could be the “perfect teammate” for the Dutchman at Red Bull. During an exclusive interview with DAZN at Interlagos, when asked if Verstappen would indeed be his ideal teammate, Norris confessed, “I would love to be Max’s teammate one day.” However, he didn’t commit to the idea, listing other exciting possibilities. “I would love to be Max’s teammate one day,” he admits. “But perfect teammate? Lewis Hamilton would also be incredible, Fernando Alonso would be exciting, Carlos Sainz…
“You know, there are always rumours,” Norris smiled.
But when probed about whether he would accept or reject an offer from Red Bull, Norris remained coy, offering only a cryptic “No comment.” The mystery surrounding his future intentions deepened. “I’ll pass on that one,” he added.
Despite his impressive performances, Norris is yet to secure a Formula 1 race win, unlike his rookie teammate Oscar Piastri, who recently claimed a sprint race victory. Norris, however, differentiates between sprint race successes and “proper” race wins. “I would never count a sprint race pole like a proper pole or a sprint race win as a proper win,” Norris insists, emphasising: “For my first victory, I’d love to share the podium with Carlos,” before adding humorously, “It would be the first time I’d see him from above.”
McLaren’s remarkable surge in performance this year, thanks to highly effective upgrades, has further fueled Norris’s ambitions. He acknowledged the team’s progress, saying, “It’s been a positive surprise for all of us,” highlighting the competition within the team with praise for Oscar Piastri. “Oscar is doing a great job for his year, so it’s a guarantee for the team that we put pressure on each other and that’s something that not every team has.”