McLaren driver Lando Norris has added fuel to fire over speculation linking him with a move to Red Bull to partner Max Verstappen when Sergio Perez’ time at the team comes to an end.
As far as Norris is concerned, he believes he owes McLaren nothing apart from the fact that they were the team that showed the confidence in offering him a seat four years ago.
That is arguably a pretty big deal despite his undeniable talent. For any team to have shown the confidence in offering a rookie a shot is commendable and athletes do tend to feel indebted as a result.
That is not the case for Norris, who believes his future is very much up to him and is intent on making the move that will benefit his racing career the most.
The 23-year-old is regarded as one of the most talented drivers of his generation and this has often led to speculation surrounding his future amidst McLaren’s struggles on the track.
Having joined McLaren in 2019, Norris has repaid the faith shown in him by accruing over 500 points for the team and currently has a contract that runs till 2025.
Norris hinted that he is, however, open to a move that will help him make the most of his talent.
“I owe McLaren a lot, but I don’t owe them my life,” he said. “Obviously there’s always been things going on and there’s been chats in the past and things like that, like there is with every driver, any time a contract comes to an end.
“McLaren, generally, has always come out to be one of the best options that I could do, both short-term and I guess at this current time, a longer-term thing. There are times I could have left and then McLaren could have done well-ish like into 2020-21, and you’d be like ‘why? What a stupid move’.
“There haven’t been that many other opportunities to do a lot better. There’s been some opportunities here and there, but Ferrari has been pretty much booked.
“Mercedes has been pretty much booked. Red Bull, there’s always stuff going on. There are always the little things, but McLaren’s always ended up being the best option, that’s why I’m here still.
“Every year I’m here always adds to this story of me wanting to win more and more with the team and with McLaren, because I think that makes it to be more deserving once the good times come.”
Although Norris may soon end his McLaren tenure, it is unlikely that it will happen any time soon, at least not at the end of the current season.
Red Bull has already made a public announcement that perez’ contract will be honoured and the Mexican will stay at the team till the end of the 2024 season.
With a year still to go at this stage as far as Norris’ deal with McLaren is concerned, it will largely be up to whether Red Bull can compensate the Papaya-Orange outfit sufficiently to rope him in a year in advance.