Why Did Norris Sign His New Contract With McLaren So Early?

F1
by Adam OndrikSaturday, 27 January 2024 at 19:00
norris lando mclaren car4
Lando Norris signed his contract extension with McLaren 2 years before his current deal was due, and he recently answered as to why he did so.
Going into the 2024 season, we know 14 out of 20 drivers on the current grid have their contracts expiring at the end of this year. The driver market is expected to be very busy in 2024.
What maybe not so many expected is to see Lando Norris - who was one of the six drivers with a contract valid beyond 2024 sign an extension earlier than those who need it more urgently. Asked by the media why he signed his contract now, he responded;

"Because I can. I’m in a good position. It’s not something I want to worry about over the next few years."

The 24-year-old is considered one of the few drivers on the grid who could bring the Challenge to Max Verstappen in Red Bull, and therefore, it was expected all of the top teams would be interested in him.
Zak Brown was fully aware, as he mentioned in an interview just a few weeks ago, that signing the Briton as soon as possible would be McLaren's priority moving forward. Norris continued:

"There’s always been these discussions going on, on our future, and I think it’s a very good time, especially when it’ll be coming to a couple of years when things start to get a bit more crazy with everyone else’s contracts and people potentially moving teams and things like that."

Former team principal of Haas, Guenther Steiner, mentioned it usually costs F1 teams a premium if they want to secure some driver earlier. 
While details of the contract have not been made public, Brown probably had to reach deep into his pockets to secure Norris for his team two seasons earlier. The British driver added:

"And just going into 2026, and those years of the new regulations and everything, it’s not something I or the team want to be thinking of, or focusing on, or spending any time on in such an important couple of years."