Norris Pondered Move From McLaren Amid Red Bull Speculation

Lando Norris considered leaving McLaren amidst the team's initial challenges in the F1 2023 season, as revealed in Netflix Drive to Survive.


By Ben Bush
Updated on February 24, 2024

Lando Norris McLaren 2024 Pre-season Testing, Bahrain
Lando Norris McLaren 2024 Pre-season Testing, Bahrain

Lando Norris had his most successful season to date last year, matching his top-ever finish of second place on six occasions, positioning McLaren as the primary challenger to the formidable Red Bull team.

This achievement followed a challenging start to the season for McLaren, who acknowledged their failure to meet development goals during the winter of 2022/23. Norris managed to secure points in only three of the first eight races.

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Lando Norris reevaluated his commitment to McLaren

Despite the early season difficulties, Norris has reaffirmed his commitment to McLaren, with the team announcing a multi-year contract extension for the British driver last month.

Nevertheless, newly released footage from Drive to Survive – Netflix’s critically acclaimed F1 documentary series – sheds light on Norris’s significant dismay at McLaren’s early-season performance, hinting at potential interest in Red Bull.

“I might just walk into Red Bull and steal their car,” Norris expressed after ending up two laps behind in the final position following the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, marking the beginning of Red Bull’s RB19 car achieving 14 consecutive wins.

Subsequently, McLaren chairman Zak Brown is depicted trying to console Norris during a golf session, offering words of encouragement.

“I think we’ll get there, and then it will be so much more sweet.”

However, Brown’s attempts to uplift Norris seem to fall short, as Norris remarks from behind the wheel of a golf cart: “F***, it’s quicker than our car, this!”

In a subsequent scene, Norris is depicted addressing the press in Miami, where he’s questioned about his likelihood of remaining with McLaren for the 2024 season. Hesitant to respond, Norris eventually turns to make a face at a Drive to Survive camera located a few tables distant.

“A lot of the times in this sport people will put certain rumours out to try and put fractures into relationships, to destabilise teams and drivers,” Brown speaks out before Christian Horner, the principal of the Red Bull team, clarifies his stance regarding Norris.

He says: “I think Lando is one of the most talented drivers on the grid. In the right car he’d clearly be a winning driver, that’s absolutely no doubt about that.

“Can his career take another year of being in the doldrums? A driver’s career has a finite amount of time to it, and he needs to make the right decisions for him at the end of the day.

“We’d certainly be interested in him. I think he’d fit in our environment.

“If he’s delivering he’s not going to be short of choices – he just needs to make the right choice.”

As Norris’s future turns into a widely discussed subject in the media, a McLaren press officer advises Norris, Brown, and Oscar Piastri on strategies for handling the challenging inquiries.

“The only other thing to flag is on Lando’s contract,” the trio are told. “Zak was asked specifically if there were any exit clauses, to which we said no.

“Anything that you can say that as a team we’re cementing, we’re knuckling down, we’re not listening to any noise that’s going on in the media.”

Norris, found grumbling and cursing quietly following a disappointing weekend for McLaren in Miami, later acknowledges he has contemplated leaving the team.

He says: “I guess at times I would love to know what it’s like to be in other people’s positions.

“I think like: ‘Hmm, what would happen if I went here or what would happen if I went there?’

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About The Author

Chief Editor

Ben Bush

Ben is our chief editor specialising in F1 from the 1990s to the modern era. Ben has been following Formula 1 since 1986 and is an avid researcher who loves understanding the technology that makes it one of the most exciting motorsport on the planet. He listens to podcasts about F1 on a daily basis, and enjoys reading books from the inspirational Adrian Newey to former F1 drivers.

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