It appears the Formula One silly season where driver moves from team to team become the focus of the thousands of column inches written each day. Red Bull started it all with the surprise timing of them ditching Nyck de Vries from AlphaTauri and replacing him with Daniel Ricciardo.
Yet Red Bull are lighting some other rumour wildfires beginning with the discreet paddock meeting at the 2023 British Grand Prix last time out between Lando Norris manager Mark Berryman and Red Bull’s Helmut Marko.
Marko talks up Norris
A brazen Dr. Marko discussed with Austrian media the talent of Norris and noting the friendly relationships he has with the dutch driver who is contracted to Red Bull until 2028.
Speaking to Austrian media, Marko talked up Norris’ talent and noted the friendly relations between the Briton and Verstappen, who is contracted at Red Bull until 2028.
“Lando has a contract with McLaren until 2025, but he is by far the best of the younger drivers,” Marko told Austrian outlet Kleine Zeitung.
Surprisingly Marko included the fact that there has already been “intensive talks” between Red Bull and Lando Norris’ management.
Secret meetings with Red Bull
“With his youthful character, he would also be the best fit for Red Bull, and it’s no secret that Max and he are good friends.”
The irony of this will not be lost on F1 close observers given the woeful performance of the McLaren F1 cars in recent years. Having won just one race since 2012 with the sacked Daniel Ricciardo, the team have recently been an also ran at the back of the chasing pack and just ahead of the ‘also rans’.
Yet in Silverstone, the location for Norris’ agents secret pow-pow, Mclaren turned up with a mega upgrade and delivered P2 and P3 in qualifying with Lando going on to claim the second steep on the podium.
Norris’ has been looking out of sorts this season and with his contract to stay at Woking until the start of 2026 looking more and more like a millstone around the usually happy go lucky British driver’s neck.
Ironic McLaren leap in performance
Yet the enormity of McLaren’s achievement at a circuit where the aerodynamics of an F1 car are examined as thoroughly as they are in Spain bodes well for the remainder of the year.
McLaren’s CEO Zak Brown was beyond himself with excitement, and again has been talking up the progress of his team towards race wins and competing for titles.
Previously the American has set his sights on 2025 for a championship challenge, but almost as though he understands the importance of helping Lando ‘keep the faith’ the exuberant Brown claimed after the British Grand Prix, “We’re back in the game.”
With both F1 championships heading to Verstappen and Red Bull, Formula One fans are looking to th rest of the field for excitement and intrigue and there is none more to be found than in th anticipation for thee next race up in Hungary.
Norris publicly engages with Red Bull
The Hungaroring is very different from Silverstone with an number of slow speed corners and short straights. Yet if McLaren can fair well against Ferrari, Mercedes and Aston Martin there (who will be strong) the resurgence from the Woking based team will become a reality.
Meanwhile Red Bull are using the anti with their Lando Norris rumour mill. Eagle eyed Lando fans noticed he began following the Red Bull instagram account this week.
More surprisingly is that Red Bull have followed back th eBritish driver with whom they have had “intensive talks.”
@leclercstin posted: “Lando Norris on his way to make the drama y’all ask for following Red Bull Racing on ig.”
Red Bull public acknowledgement
@Louisxsun28 added: “Lando Norris following Red Bull the day where the rumours are all over the place is the most Lando Norris thing EVER.” @lletherburn commented: “wtf is actually going on.”
Yet one Lando fan clearly noticed something of deep significance in all of this:
@formulaAG4 said: “I’m crying the only non-Red Bull driver Red Bull follow is Lando.”
Perez safe ‘for now’
With Daniel Ricciardo replacing the unfortunate Nyck de Vries for next weeks Hungarian Grand Prix, all eyes will be on how the Australian fares following his catastrophic two season with McLaren and his enforced six month absence from F1.
Both Ricciardo’s move and the Norris’ stories in the press will be upping the pressure on Sergio Perez who’s recent woeful run of results have seen the Mexican driver fail to make final qualifying th last five times out.
Red Bull have demonstrated they are clearly capable of ditching a driver mid season and so Checo needs not to be complacent. However, with Max winning both F1 championships almost single handed, its unlikely the Red Bull management will oust Perez until the end of the season.
Lewis 🤜🤛 Lando
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 13, 2023