The world of Formula 1 is abuzz with speculations and whispers of potential driver changes, and one name that continues to surface in conversations is Lando Norris. Despite his ongoing contract with McLaren, Norris’s future in Formula 1 seems open to intriguing possibilities.
Among these possibilities is the tantalizing prospect of the British driver joining forces with Max Verstappen at Red Bull Racing, forming what could be a formidable duo in the world of motorsport.
Red Bull merry-go-round
Sergio Perez, the current Red Bull driver, has been under mounting pressure this season, as have his predecessors Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon. The pattern seems to be repeating itself, with Red Bull searching for alternatives within its talent pool. Nyck de Vries briefly stepped into the spotlight as a potential replacement when Daniel Ricciardo had to step out due to a wrist injury sustained at Zandvoort.
However, it was Red Bull protégé Liam Lawson who truly made a statement with his impressive performance.
Certainly, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has hinted that the 21-year-old New Zealand driver, could get his chance next year.
Lawson aiming for Red Bull
The recent F1 races could put Lawson in contention for a seat alongside the Japanese driver Tsunoda next year at AlphaTauri which would be the springboard to Red Bull Racing. Lawson seems to regularly receive praise from Dr Helmut Marko, the head of Red Bull’s driver development programme.
The Austrian recently told Austrian channel Servus TV that a title in Japan could open the doors for Lawson.
“It may mean he gets a permanent seat in F1 instead of a reserve driver role. That can happen quickly.”
“He has shown that he is good enough to compete in Formula 1 and now he needs to confirm that progress in the next few races,” adds Marko.
And that’s just as well for the young New Zealander, who will get another chance to show his worth, as his interim in the top flight is set to be extended, with Daniel Ricciardo not yet fit.
Norris courts Red Bull
Yet, amidst the flurry of potential contenders, including Lawson, Lando Norris’s name continues to linger, despite his existing contract with McLaren. What makes this scenario particularly intriguing is the close friendship between Norris and Red Bull’s star driver, Max Verstappen. This partnership, both on and off the track, could offer a fresh dynamic to the Red Bull Racing team.
In a recent interview with PlanetF1, Lando Norris expressed his openness to the idea of teaming up with Verstappen in the future.
He remarked, “It’s definitely something I would be open to in the future,” acknowledging Verstappen as one of the “best drivers ever in the history of Formula 1.”
Long history competing as friends
Norris’s admiration for Verstappen extends beyond the track. The two drivers have a history dating back to their karting days, well before they made their mark in Formula 1. Indeed it is well known that the two drivers are good friends away from the circuit.
Norris elaborated on their early encounters, stating, “In karting, I already knew him pretty well. In 2012-2013 was the first time I met him and got to know him, so I was able to see what he does.”
Norris: Verstappen is the benchmark for us all
For Norris, it’s not solely about Verstappen’s current car or team; it’s about recognizing the extraordinary talent that transcends machinery. He believes that Verstappen possesses the innate ability to perform at the highest level, regardless of the car he’s in.
Norris stated, “I think no matter what car he is in, he will be able to perform at the same level. Maybe with different results, but at a similar level.”
The prospect of a Verstappen-Norris partnership at Red Bull Racing would undoubtedly ignite excitement within the Formula 1