Red Bull Racing has tried to sign Lando Norris, but talks came to nothing as the young English driver entered into a long-term contract with McLaren in May.
Max Verstappen’s team had to look for a replacement for the disappointing Alexander Albon at the end of last season. In the end it ended up with Sergio Perez who had to leave Racing Point. Last summer, the Mexican’s one-year contract with Red Bull was extended for another season.
However, Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko reveals that Lando Norris has also been spoken to. However, the negotiations broke down, the Austrian former driver told the Austrian OE24: “We have spoken with him, but he is attached to McLaren for a long term. So we will continue to follow our path faithfully.”
Marko won’t say when Norris was spoken to, but the fact that the Englishman was not signed by McLaren for a longer period until May of this year suggests that Red Bull spoke to him before Perez was offered a new contract. The Mexican was told in August that he can stay at Red Bull for another year.
Norris is enjoying an excellent third season in Formula 1. The 21-year-old driver from Bristol is fourth in the championship, has already been on the podium four times this year and took pole position in Russia for the first time in his career. He looked like he was on his way to his first Formula 1 victory at the Sochi Autodrom, but a rain shower just before time threw a spanner in the works.
Although Marko sees a lot of potential in Norris, Red Bull continues to hold on to Verstappen as the absolute number one of the team. “Norris has noticed me before,” says Marko. “But Max is still at the top of my ranking because he can deliver immediately in all conditions and without making a mistake. He once again impressively proved that in the rain in Sochi. He almost won the race, he just had to get into the pits one lap earlier.”
“Proud of bold choice for Verstappen”
Verstappen turned 24 last week, and is already active in Formula 1 for the seventh season. Marko looks back on the past seven seasons with great pleasure. “I am proud that we dared to bring Max to Formula 1 as a 16-year-old. He never made me doubt that our path was the right one. He’s always super focused and doesn’t let his goal to win stop him.”