McLaren CEO Zak Brown says Lando Norris is underrated. All of Zak Brown’s hopes rest on his young driver duo for the coming Formula 1 season. The American businessman explains that Lando Norris is improving exponentially and that Oscar Piastri should be a “sensational” F1 driver.
McLaren CEO Zak Brown is delighted with the driver line-up the team will field this season. It will be made up of Lando Norris, who he says “doesn’t get the credit he deserves”, and young Oscar Piastri, freshly recruited by the British team.
After parting ways with Daniel Ricciardo at the end of 2022, McLaren has chosen to replace him with fellow Australian Oscar Piastri, a young Formula 2 champion in 2021 and former reserve driver for Alpine.
Team principal Andreas Seidl has also left the team to take up the position of general manager at Sauber. Andrea Stella will replace Andreas Seild at McLaren. Lando Norris will be starting his fifth season with the Woking-based team.
“He’s getting better and better,”
In an interview on the McLaren website, Zak Brown praised the work done by Lando Norris last season. The British driver was the only driver not to be among the top three teams to score a podium finish in 2022.
“He’s getting better and better,” said Zak Brown.
“He’s doing some incredible qualifying laps. I don’t think he gets all the credit he deserves: when it’s time to go, he’s really impressive.”
“You know, there’s free practice three and then bang, it comes in qualifying when he has to do it in Q3, and you think, ‘Wow, where did that come from?’ And he does that a lot.”
“He makes very few mistakes, rarely makes a big mistake. So him, if I look at when he started compared to now, he has a very high level of confidence – but not arrogance – and he’s definitely one with the team and the race car… if you look from season one to now, his race pace is exponentially better.”
“We got a great mix of drivers”
Zak Brown also explained that he was relying heavily on the potential of this driver pairing, the youngest on the grid, bearing in mind that Oscar Piastri was decorated with the championship title in his first season in both F3 and F2.
“We think Oscar is going to be a sensational race driver. If you look at his career to date, he’s won a lot of championships in his first year, which is proof that we’re looking at a special driver, you know, he’s got a great mental approach to the sport and now that we feel Lando has a lot of experience, we feel like we’ve got a great mix of experience and youth,” explained Zak Brown.
“Our experience is also having young people. So I think we’re very excited about the potential of our Lando and Oscar driver line-up for the foreseeable future.”
McLaren will introduce its new car on February 13, so the British team is hoping to improve on last year’s fifth place finish in the constructors’ standings behind Alpine in 2023.