The British Formula 1 driver is clear about the team for which he would leave his trusted group for several years
Although the doors of the frontline teams seem closed to Lando Norris, F1 presenter Tom Clarkson brings Audi into the equation. Norris is currently serving the long-term contract with McLaren that he signed before the 2022 season, a commitment that runs until the end of 2025. During this period, McLaren intends to re-enter the conversation for wins and titles.
However, there has been speculation about whether Norris will honor that contract, given McLaren’s apparent withdrawal from the F1 front-grid scene, instead of moving towards it. McLaren he’s pretty sure Norris isn’t going anywhere in the next few years, though on the track there’s plenty of room for improvement. The team openly admitted that they fell behind their goals with their challenging 2023, the MCL60, with just 14 points earned in the first five rounds.
The dilemma of loyalty in Formula 1
When discussing the Norris situation, journalist Natalie Pinkham brought up the issue of loyalty, believing there is “something to be said for staying with the team, growing with the team.” However, the presenter, Clarkson, noted that while Pinkham is confident that “McLaren will bounce back”, he feels that Lando Norris now needs to start seeing this “serious progress” of the team instead of just listening to it.
McLaren recently carried out a reorganization of its structure of technical staff with this goal in mind, although with ex-Ferrari engineer David Sánchez not due to join until January 2024, Clarkson believes a turnaround for McLaren will take time. The most obvious answers, Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes, were all doors that Pinkham cannot foresee opening for Norris in the near future. So which team could lure Norris away from McLaren? Audi maybe?
Audi could be the key for Norris
The German manufacturer has purchased a minority stake in Sauber Motorsport as it prepares to partner with the brand from 2026, at which point the Sauber-operated team, currently known as Alfa Romeo, will become Audi’s works team using its power unit. In this way he could give way to one of the most loyal pilots of the team.
The goal is that Audi is fighting at the top three years after his entry into Formula 1, and with Andreas Seidl there as CEO of Sauber, who worked with Norris as team principal at McLaren, Clarkson can see the appeal. However, the question is whether Norris would be in a better situation if he embarked on another project for the future.