McLaren secures a significant advantage in Formula 1 by extending Lando Norris‘ contract, thwarting Red Bull Racing’s plans to recruit him and solidifying their driver lineup as one of the best for the future, while Red Bull may have to settle for less competitive options alongside Max Verstappen.
‣ McLaren are delighted with Lando Norris’ contract extension, viewing it as a significant step forward technically and strategically, positioning them with what they consider the best driver duo in Formula 1 for the future.
‣ The extension deals a blow to Red Bull Racing, who had Norris on their radar, forcing them to consider second-tier drivers as partners for Max Verstappen in the coming years.
‣ The commitment of top talents like Max Verstappen, Lando Norris, Oscar Piastri, and Charles Leclerc to long-term contracts has stabilized the driver market, making significant moves unlikely in the near future.
‣ Red Bull’s strategy to wait for Norris to become a free agent has been thwarted, leaving them to explore other, potentially less competitive, options for Verstappen’s teammate beyond 2025.
McLaren’s buzzing, truly. They’ve just locked down Lando Norris for longer, and oh boy, does it feel like a victory lap. With Norris and Oscar Piastri, they’re boasting what many would call the dream team of Formula 1’s future. It’s a bit of a gut punch for Red Bull Racing, honestly. They had their eyes on Norris, hoping to snag him. Now? They’re scrambling, likely settling for someone not quite on Norris’s level to team up with Max Verstappen.
And just like that, McLaren’s move has thrown a wrench into the driver market’s gears. The crème de la crème, including Verstappen, Norris, Piastri, and Charles Leclerc, are all spoken for, contract-wise. George Russell? He’s not going anywhere till post-2025, comfortably seated at Mercedes. Switching to Red Bull or Ferrari? Hard to picture. As for legends like Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, they’re more likely to bow out than hop teams.
### Setback for Horner and Red Bull
Christian Horner’s Friday took a turn, finding out Norris is sticking with McLaren. Despite multiple chats about a potential switch, Norris chose loyalty. At McLaren, he’s blossomed, eyeing that elusive first GP win with determination.
Red Bull seemed to play the waiting game, eyeing Norris post-2025. With Sergio Perez and possibly Daniel Ricciardo as Verstappen’s sidekicks in the interim, they had a plan. Ricciardo, at 34, might not be in his prime, but he was seen as a solid stopgap. Well, that plan’s out the window now.
### Red Bull end up with second helpings
So, what’s Red Bull’s next move? Scouring for Perez’s successor won’t land them a top-tier driver, that’s for sure. Post-Friday’s news, the writing’s on the wall. They might eye talents like Liam Lawson or Alex Albon, but neither is a surefire bet. Albon’s stint at Williams was decent, yet he never quite matched Verstappen’s pace.
On the track, McLaren couldn’t outpace Red Bull last season, save for a sprint in Qatar. But in the driver market? McLaren’s just scored a significant point against the Austrians as we edge closer to 2024. It’s a win that feels both sweet and strategic, hinting at an intensifying rivalry.