Norris's Decision To Extend Contract With McLaren Questioned By F1 Expert Palmer

Sunday, 28 April 2024 at 10:00
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Ex-Renault driver and expert F1 analyst Jolyon Palmer evaluated Lando Norris's decision to extend his contract with McLaren.
Lando Norris keeps proving he is one of the best drivers on the grid who could fight for the championship if he sits in a competitive car.
The question is, will he get a championship-contending car at McLaren? The 24-year-old driver has been with the team since the start of his F1 career in 2019.
McLaren has been a midfield team for most of the first four years but made progress toward the front in 2023 and continues to close the gap to Championship-leading Red Bull in 2024 as well.
Norris's last contract was supposed to expire at the end of 2025, but McLaren CEO Zak Brown was able to convince him to sign a "multi-year" extension.
This means he should now stay with the British team, at least until the end of 2027. Jolyon Palmer wrote in his column for the official F1 website:

"He committed his future to McLaren over the winter, which is an interesting choice given the turmoil in the driver market right now."

"With seats open at both Red Bull and Mercedes, time will tell if that is the smart move, but with the way that McLaren are improving right now there aren’t many better places to be in the short term."

All the teams on the grid are aware of the Briton's qualities. Red Bull, for example, already expressed a potential interest in Norris.
It seemed like Christian Horner was willing to make some space for Norris in the team from Milton Keynes. However, Norris opted for McLaren's extension, and Palmer suggests the "Max Verstappen" factor might have influenced his decision.

"As tempting as a Red Bull seat would be, the way that Pierre Gasly, Alex Albon and Sergio Perez have been annihilated by Verstappen would make anyone think twice about joining a team so galvanised around a superstar driver."