Why McLaren can never fulfil Norris’ request

Lando Norris reveals he’s asked McLaren CEO “may times” for the team to return to their iconic chrome and red F1 livery. The team’s most recent title success was back in 2008 when Lewis Hamilton running the Vodafone colour scheme beat Ferrari’s Felipe Massa to the drivers’ title by a single point.

Norris admits it was this era of Formula One which first peaked his interest in the sport.




Lando’s favourite livery from Alonso/Hamilton era

“My favourite bunch. This is Lewis-Fernando [car]. Big rivalry.  This is what got me into Formula 1 watching these cars go round,” Norris told GQ Sports

“I started actually supporting McLaren just because they looked cool. 

“I’ve asked Zak [Brown] many times to go back to this.”

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The return to Papaya

Of course Zak Brown can never accede to Lando Norris request given the global racing empire the American is currently building.

2013 was the last season McLaren ran the silver and red livery before a number of different silver and black variations were tried and then ditched.

From 2017 the Walking based team’s liveries have been dominated by the colour ‘papaya’ which formed part of McLaren’s early history.



Bruce McLaren picked papaya

New Zealander Bruce McLaren founded Bruce McLaren Motor Racing in 1963 and proceeded to build cars for the Can-Am series.

The M1B was the successor to McLaren’s first race car and helped the team dominate the category from 1966-1971 with a total of 43 victories.

The McLaren cars sported a variety of liveries until in 1967 they debuted the colour that would become synonymous with the team “papaya” orange.

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Papaya McLaren’s Global Brand

Papaya become synonymous with McLaren race cars as the company spread its wings competing in Formula One, Can-Am, Champ/Indy car,, Formula 2, and Formula 5000. 

Following the death of Bruce McLaren in time just the Formula One outfit remained and over the years the cars have sported a variety of iconic liveries related to the team sponsors who funded the project.

The return to the papaya colour saw McLaren reinvigorate its founders dream of being a multi series global racing brand.



McLaren F1 woes in 2023

Now the papaya colours of McLaren are sported in IndyCar, Formula E, Extreme E and the growing E-Sports Gaming arena together of course with the Formula One team.

So from heron McLaren’s colours will be ‘papaya’ as Ferrari’s is red and Lando will never live out the dream of his McLaren F1 car sporting the silver and red of Lewis and Fernando.

Norris should have bigger concerns than the colour of his car given McLaren’s shocking start to the 2020 season. The famous British marque are now joint last with Alpha Tauri having scored no points during the first two race weekends of the year.

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Norris rumours abound

This terrible form has led to the obvious speculation around Norris future within the team. His impressive form over the past seasons despite having a difficult car to drive now has him the leading candidate to replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes.

If Norris were offered this move, it would be intriguing to see how his rivalry with George Russell would play out as team-mates. Both drivers are the same generation and this would create a battle of the Brits fascinating for everyone to watch develop.

This week rumours emerged Norris is also favourite to replace Sergio Perez should Red Bull decide the Mexican’s career is over come the end of the season.



Could Lando beat Max Verstappen?

Though joining Red Bull is a greater risk for Norris given his double world champion team mate has been there for years and moulded the outfit around his needs,

Could Norris win alongside Verstappen? 

Ask Daniel Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly, Alex Albon or Sergio Perez, and the answer is probably ‘no’.

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Norris contract one of the longest in F1

Norris has one of the longest contracts amongst the current set of F1 drivers, one that sees him tied to McLaren until the end of 2025.

However, as Ricciardo demonstrated last season, contracts are only as good as the amount someone is prepared to pay to break it and McLaren’s now forlorn hopes for 2023 and beyond will not be lost on Lando.

In the modern era, it has become important for F1 teams to have their own engines in order to compete at the front. It’s therefore unsurprising Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes and Alpine were the leading constructors in the 2022 championship.



A return to Maclaren-Honda works engine

While rumours abound of a McLaren-Honda works team style reunion come the new F1 engine formula regulations in 2026, this is a long time for Lando Norris to be watching his rivals rack up race wins and championships.

After team orders instructed Norris to let his team mate through in Jeddah, a disgruntled Norris revealed “I could have quite easily probably kept the position at the end and got past the Williams [of Logan Sargeant].

“But yeah, I just let him [Piastri] go in the end,” said Norris. 

“It would be different if I was fighting for points, but 16th and 17th, it doesn’t really matter.”

McLaren will be hoping to satisfy Norris with a return to the points this weekend in Australia. If not it will be a long 4 weeks of media speculation until round 4 resumes in Baku at the end of April.

READ MORE: Ricciardo: ‘Scrap all free practice sessions’

One response to “Why McLaren can never fulfil Norris’ request

  1. Generally the writing in TJ13 is excellent. But to the non-English readership, some usages could be confusing. It could be the spellcheck that could be the enemy (enema?)
    For instance
    1. piqued in lieu of peaked; 2. Woking based in lieu of Walking based
    3. hereon in lieu of heron
    My tuppence to improve the readability!

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