Lando Norris and the McLaren team have prematurely extended their joint driver contract for Formula 1 until the end of 2025. The British racing team announced this on Wednesday morning, causing a surprise two days before the 2022 launch.
Because Norris’ contract was only extended in May 2021, although the 22-year-old was still under contract at the time until the end of 2022 anyway. A year ago, no specific contract term was communicated, but McLaren only announced that they had agreed on a long-term cooperation over several years.
Norris finished the 2021 season in sixth place, taking four podiums and his first pole position in Formula 1 along the way. At the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, he was poised to win his first race amid the rain chaos of the final laps However, he and the team got bogged down by staying on slicks for too long.
The new contract runs until the end of 2025 and is even longer than that of Charles Leclerc at Ferrari, which was concluded in December 2019 until the end of 2024. “In teams,” says Norris, “it’s ultimately always about the people. I love the people at McLaren and feel at home here.”
Old Norris contract would have expired at the end of 2023
“It was a bit strange as we had just signed a deal,” he admits. “But that was at the beginning of last year, and that also included the past year. With the contract, we would not have come anywhere close to 2025. And it is a sign of mutual trust. Long-term.”
Norris first tested for McLaren in 2017, winning the McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver Awards. In 2017 and 2018 he was an official test driver before being promoted to the racing cockpit in 2019. With the new contract, he will presumably receive a salary increase. However, the new agreement will not take effect until 2022 and will then run for four years.
In an online press conference on Wednesday morning, Norris and team boss Andreas Seidl only wanted to give a hint as to why the extension was extended so early. Norris admits there have been loose contacts with other teams who wanted to poach him. “No one spoke to me about it. That’s a question for Lando,” Seidl dismisses.
None of the “small talks” had “really gone far,” Norris puts it into perspective. “I can’t say which teams approached him,” he grins when asked. “But you’ll have an idea there.” And: “Of course there are also opportunities for good drivers to switch to teams like Red Bull or Mercedes. Who knows if I would have had this opportunity too?”
“The fact that I’ve had opportunities like this and still decided to stay with McLaren is a powerful message. I want to be here, I want to stay here and celebrate victories here and win world championships. I considered all the factors and I was concerned about what could happen where, but McLaren is my best option and I’m very happy to stay here.”
“Maybe it would have been logical to stay with the current contract, which would have ended at the end of next year or the year after. Especially at this early stage with new rules and the new cars. […] But even if we have a difficult season in 2022, I’m optimistic that we’ll be fighting for victories up front over the next five to ten years.”
McLaren: New contract is a strong vote of confidence
“I grew up in this team and I am part of this journey that we are on,” he says. “2021 was another great step, both in my career and in terms of the team’s performance. I see and feel the work, investment and determination in this team to one day be able to fight for victories and world championships.”
It was ultimately a “natural decision” to extend the contract early, Norris asserts. Seidl sees it the same way and emphasizes that the new contract “not only proves our commitment to Lando, but also our belief and trust in his talent”.
“It’s also a very strong sign of confidence from Lando that he is making this commitment and trusting the team to embark on the journey to become world champions together. As a racing driver, Lando has made impressive progress over the past four years and he has been an integral part of the team’s upward form curve during this time.”
Lando Norris is the key building block of McLaren
“We continue to be on the way up and Lando is a key building block of our plan. Having him on board alongside Daniel with his experience and leadership gives us stability at a time when we are consistently working towards our ultimate goal of winning the World Cup , work towards.”
“To achieve this ambitious goal, we need a first-class driver pairing with the best guys in the paddock. And continuity on the driver’s side is essential for success. Especially when you already have very, very good drivers. That’s why it is important for us to fix Lando by 2025.”
“We now want to complete our infrastructure projects and then also benefit from them. Continuity is important for us, but not only on the driver side, but also on the team side. I am very happy that in addition to Lando, Zak, I and the entire management team Have long-term commitments, which is also a great sign […] is,” says Seidl.