Formula One

Frustrated Norris will be thinking about McLaren exit – Chandok


Sky F1 consultant Karun Chandhok believes a frustrated Lando Norris might have a move away from McLaren on his mind given the team’s poor start to its 2023 season.

By its own admittance, McLaren isn’t happy with its MCL60, with team boss Andrea Stella acknowledging the car’s current lack of development.

An update package is expected to be implemented in Baku at the end of next month, but in the interim the Woking-based outfit appears consigned to the second tier of F1’s midfield in terms of performance.

Furthermore, in the wake of last weekend’s double DNF in Bahrain, reliability must also be improved.

Last month, Norris stated that he had not lost his faith in McLaren to which the Briton is contracted until the end of 2025. But frustrations have likely started to creep in, which could eventually reset the McLaren driver’s mind over his future.

“Someone who will be thinking about a move to Ferrari or Red Bull is young Lando Norris, won’t he, looking at where they’re at,” Chandhok told Sky F1.

“We were talking about it before the season, about McLaren locking him in and Zak Brown doing an amazing job locking him in for that four year period.

“I do wonder, and I think if they’re smart they would’ve created some sort of exit clause… for example if McLaren don’t finish in the top four in the Constructors’ Championship two years in a row, is there an option for Lando to look elsewhere?

“Outside of the traditional top three teams, you’ve got Fernando and Lando who are your top two drivers on the grid.

“The fact that he’s fighting to get the car into Q3, there’s got to be a bit of frustration there, I can imagine.”

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL60. 05.03.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir, Bahrain, Race Day.

McLaren is still in the process of building up its infrastructure at Woking, with the team’s new all-important wind tunnel expected to come online in time for it to be exploited in 2024.

Team papaya’s 2025 contender will then be the first car to be designed and developed under McLaren’s fully operational new resources.

However, Norris believes McLaren should be able to “do more” with the tools it currently has at its disposal.

“I think we have a lot of what we need,” he said. “Of course, we still know that the wind tunnel is coming, the simulator is coming, two things that will definitely help us take another step forward, but we need to do more with what we have now already.

“What we’re having in Baku should be what we’re starting the season with. If you want to be a top team, it’s where we should’ve started the season with those kinds of parts which are coming.

“But until then, we’ll just do the best we can to make the most of what we have now.”

“It’s a long way away, but we’ll see how the progress can be this season, how we can do at the end of the season when we get things in the new wind tunnel and start to get our first idea,” he added.

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Frustrated Norris will be thinking about McLaren exit – Chandok

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