McLaren CEO: Norris could race other categories

Zak Brown to many is a blaze bawdy American who has fallen into his role Formula One by knowing the right people at the right time. Yet the McLaren CEO is building the global brand of the British sports car company in a fashion like never before.

Of course McLaren raced in the Indy500 under the management of founder Bruce McLaren. Though it was after the tragic death of the New Zealnader that the team won the iconic event at the brickyard in 1974 and 1976.



McLaren up their Indycar entry to 3 cars

Arrows McLaren will now field three full time cars and drivers for the 2023 season after the team’s return to Indycar in 2021. Joining Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist is Indy500 winner Alexander Rossi.

That said Indycar teams have been known to field up to 6 cars for the blue riband event at Indianapolis and Zak Brown’s latest comments suggest Lando Norris is in with a shout of competing.

Speaking to ESPN Brown said, “Lando’s a franchise driver.”

“Lando’s one of those guys if we put everyone in a dirt buggy and we put all the F1 drivers in a race, he’d be at the front because he’s got that kind of natural talent.

“He’s a total star. And he’s pushing us.”



Brown believes Russell’s win in Brazil pushes Lando on

Brown refers to the friendly rivalry between Lando and Mercedes George Russell and believes Russell’s win in Brazil will merely serve to spur Norris on to his maiden F1 win.

“He wants to be winning races, I’m sure he knows he can beat George and he has beaten George before… and he goes out and wins. He’s going to be anxious people he’s raced with don’t get too many more wins before he starts getting his.”

Norris joined McLaren as a rookie F1 driver in 2019 alongside Carlos Sainz who had 4 years under his belt with Toro Rosso and Renault. Norris acquitted himself well against his experienced team mate and his haul of points when compared to his experienced team mate was considerably better than others in their recent rookie years. 



‘Norris in top tier of F1 drivers’

When asked if he considered Norris in the top tier of current drivers, he replied: “Definitely. Unbelievably fast. He pulls it out in qualifying all the time. 

“He can put a lap together. He rarely makes mistakes — when he does they’re very small. It’s, he missed the apex, he locked a brake, but you don’t see him sticking it in the fence.

“His race craft is really strong now. If I look at year one, he was a little too polite on track at times. Now he’s someone you can race hard with and he’ll race you hard, he’s clean but he’s hard, he gets his elbows out. He can manage tyres very well. I think he is as good as anyone on the grid.”



Norris in Daytona 24 hour race

Zak Brown has put his money where his mouth is having entered Lando Norris alongside Fernando Alonso in the 2018 Daytona 24 hours race just before the start of the British driver’s rookie season.

“I think he is as good as anyone on the grid and I’ve felt that from day one when I put him against Fernando in the 24 Hours of Daytona, foreign car, foreign track.

“I think Fernando is as good as any F1 driver there’s every been… and Lando matches him, and depending on what time of day it was, maybe he even got him a little bit, and vice versa.

“You see that natural talent. You do get some drivers who are a one-make discipline and you throw them in a unique situation and they don’t get up to speed as quickly.”



Could Lando Norris race the Indy500?

Describing designating Lando Norris as a “franchise driver” Brown will surely have opened the door for the British driver to compete and deliver success outside of the strict confines of the McLaren F1 team.

The term “franchise player’ does have a strict application in the NFL and is applicable to a player receiving a contract extension. However, Brown is probably using the term is its broader sense to denote someone who single handedly drives success wherever they find themselves.

The Indy500 takes place on memorial day and in 2023 clashes with the Monaco grand prix. Yet as Brown continues to build the McLaren brand in the USA, entering Lando Norris for the Indy500 has to be on the cards.

READ MORE: Schumacher second F1 chance at Alpha Tauri

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.